The Chippendale school is unique in offering its professional students a more holistic teaching experience in fine woodworking.
That includes tuition in business and marketing skills and, for example, expert guidance on creating an attractive website.
Indeed, one of our annual prizes for graduating students is a Best Portfolio award for the student who creates the best marketing materials – this year going to a student from the Falkland Islands.
We absolutely recognise that someone can be the very best woodworker but, unless they can also sell themselves, they will struggle to find customers.
That’s why we started the Fine Furniture Guild, an association of alumni, as a way of putting potential customers in touch with a fine woodworker in their area.
It’s our way of saying to the world that a successful graduate of the Chippendale school has achieved levels of design and making skills that make him or her a trusted cabinetmaker.
We also offer graduates the option of staying on with us and moving into incubation space at the school.
This allows graduates to set up in business for themselves, making use of all our machines and able to seek advice from tutors, without the expense of sourcing their own workshop and fitting it out.
We’re in the process of clearing and then creating a further large incubation space, left vacant by a former student who has moved to new premises off-campus.
It looks a bit empty at the moment but it will soon be a hive of activity – and the high ceilings make it ideal for woodworkers making large pieces such as tall wardrobes or kitchen units.
Several of the class of 2017/18 will be making their homes in it and, we hope, adding to the vibrant community that is the Chippendale school.
Because a core strength of the school is that it’s more than a place of teaching. It’s a place where students can rub shoulders with professional woodworkers, learn from them, and better understand every aspect of life as a fine furniture designer.