Chippendale School expands team & course offering in response to demand 

We have long known that woodworking and fine furniture making offer a brilliant career choice – and over the last few years, it seems that others are picking up on this too! 

Since 2019, the Chippendale School’s team has seen a surge in demand for woodworking courses, and, despite the challenges associated with the rising cost of living, this trend shows no sign of slowing.  

In-demand courses 

Over the last three years, places on both the Professional Course and shorter complementary courses have continuously been booked up as more people ditch corporate jobs in pursuit of more creative careers. Motivated by pandemic lifestyle changes, aspiring woodworkers have been inspired to follow their passion and embark on fulfilling, rewarding careers in fine furniture making. 

Indeed, many of this year’s incoming students have swapped professional roles, such as a chartered accountant and an oil and gas drilling supervisor, to carve out a new career path in furniture making. For those thinking about making the move, our shorter courses provide a taster of what a furniture making career can offer.  

A ‘carpe diem’ moment 

Liz Murray attended the Chippendale School’s 4-week-long Intermediate Course in 2022 – a year on from UK lockdowns. Liz wanted to develop her existing woodworking skills but wasn’t sure where to start – so she turned to the expertise of the Chippendale School. 

Speaking of her experience, Liz says:  

“I signed up to the 4-week-long Intermediate Course in a carpe diem moment, needing a therapeutic break from post-Covid career doldrums. It was the most fulfilling and energising experience – such a beautiful setting, surrounded by talented and inspiring craftspeople.  

“In practical terms, the course exceeded every expectation. I came with the goal of upping my furniture restoration game and finished with the courage and confidence to design and create my own pieces. I’ll definitely be back for a top up!” 

Our short courses take place throughout the year and include weekend, week-long and 4-week courses. Covering wood carving, upholstery and woodturning, these courses cover all aspects of furniture making. All information on them can be found here. 

New team members 

To deliver these courses to the highest standards, we have recently expanded our expert team.  

Lennert Koch joins us as a tutor on the Professional Course. A highly skilled cabinet maker with an eye for detail, his style is a mixture between Scandinavian and Japanese. Originally from Holland, Len has lived in Scotland for many years. 

Fiona Gilfillan works as assistant tutor on the Intermediate Course with Alan McGovern. She is a skilled woodturner with her own business, Feemade, and also shares the teaching of the Woodturning Weekends with Adam Stone, as well as teaching bowl turning on the Introductory Course. 

Anna Patxot Bertran is the Digital Assistant on the Professional Course, working closely with tutor Andrew Cockerill to help students with their CAD training. She also works alongside designer and tutor Ben Dawson, guiding students through the design development on their projects.  

Marion Morris is Head of Student Support and is committed to giving each student the very best experience at the Chippendale International School of Furniture. Marion is a graduate of the Professional Course and also runs her own successful furniture business, Marion Makes. 

A supportive environment 

The School’s dedicated team of experts are committed to ensuring every student has a good experience and receives a world-class education in a nurturing environment. You’ll find no better place to start out in your woodworking journey or perfect your furniture making skills. 

Our courses appeal to those seeking the flexibility of a career that fits around their lifestyle and that allows them to take control of their income. You will be motivated and encouraged every step of the way to make the most out of your time with us. 


Find out more about our short courses here, or our 2023/24 Professional Course here.  

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