There is so much you can do with woodworking and furniture making skills, especially as our course trains you to a very high standard, but generally there are two main paths you can take once you graduate: employed, or self-employed.
If you’re interesting in being self-employed and starting your own business, we provide plenty of information and support to help you acheive this. We can help you decide what kinds of pieces to make, whether you’ll go more bespoke or more commercial, and figure out where you’ll get your clients and customers. We can also help you with opportunities to exhibit at various shows as well as enter competitions which can help to get your name out there.
If you’re looking for a job as a maker working for someone else’s business, we are pleased to have connections with commercial workshops that are always looking for well-trained makers. We’ll help you find a role that suits you, prepare for the interview, and train you in any specific techniques you might need to know.
You can tailor your course with us to suit whichever path you want to take, specialising in different skills or materials and learning more about what your work life will look like once you graduate. Take a look at some of our graduate interviews to find out about what kinds of things our previous students have gone on to do.
Self-Employed: Laurent Peacock
After graduation I worked with Marc for a few months on his Vortex table. This was a great opportunity as I was able to gain further experience working on high-end laminated pieces whilst also affording me access to the workshop in my spare time in which I could develop further design ideas and conduct materials experiments without the immediate pressure to become ‘commercial’. This period was very useful for me and some of the materials I produced samples for at that time have gone on to feature in some of my more recent exhibition pieces. I eventually bit the bullet though and set myself up as a sole trader towards the end of 2017, moving to a shared workshop with a couple of other RHS graduates and starting work on my first major private commission.
Since going it alone I’ve worked on a combination of private commissions and speculative pieces for exhibition. At present, I have a couple of different strands that I’m developing in my practice. One strand is commissioned pieces, which are one-offs and informed to varying degrees by the input of the client with whom I’m working. A second strand involves producing some simpler designs in small batches, often featuring unusual surfaces, textures or materials that I’ve developed, to sell through exhibitions or via galleries/retailers in future, but typically at lower price points than the bespoke pieces command. A third strand is the potential application of my surfaces away from my own finished furniture pieces. I’ve had interest from a range of interior designers, architects, property developers and commercial clients about possible direct applications for these surfaces and hope to be able to unveil some interesting projects soon.
Self-Employed: Simon Robson
I would say start out with a small company and learn the basics of commercial furniture and the process of making. Once you have this sorted out then venture out on your own, as you’ll stumble along the way and every day is a learning curve. I worked for a few good makers that were established and gained experience making commercial and bespoke furniture. I then set up my own company and do bespoke and commercial work.
Commercial work as this pays the bills. If a client requests a bespoke item than it’s great to get that kind of work, it’s always a pleasure working with and influencing a client with what will work in their home.