The Chippendale International School of Furniture prides itself on family values and fostering a strong support network among students and tutors. Here, Principal Tom Fraser talks us through some of the steps they’ve been taking during lockdown
Built on the site of the family home by school founder and former Principal Anselm Fraser, the Chippendale School prides itself on family values and has worked hard to foster its now global community. Since its inception in 1985, we have welcomed more than 500 students from over 50 countries around the world. We treat our international student community like extended family, providing a supportive environment and home away from home during their time with us. We never forget a student’s name and keep in touch with graduates, checking in on life post-Chippendale to see how their businesses have been developing.
Due to our small course sizes, with no more than 26 students on the Professional course, we can provide a very high-level of 1-2-1 teaching, with ample opportunity for small group working practice. There is nowhere to hide at our small school – this is a great thing, as it enables our students to quickly form strong bonds with the people they will be learning and working alongside every day during their studies. With many students coming to the school from outside of the UK, it is important that they connect and make friends while away from their home countries.
These friendships have been vital in keeping our students motivated during the recent lockdown period, where they have been away from their families and the workshop under incredibly challenging circumstances. To prevent isolation, we have worked hard to help students stay connected by using video calls, social media and chat groups. We’ve also worked on setting up fun social activities as well as engaging and creatively challenging learning opportunities. When we get back into the workshop again,
we do not doubt that students will be overjoyed to get stuck back into finishing their projects that have been on pause for so long, not to mention catching up with one another in person.
We have a strong team of tutors and teaching experts who cover an array of both traditional and modern skills and techniques. Some of our team have even been with us for more than half their lives – they are as much a part of the furniture as they are the Chippendale family!
Growing up at the school, I have known some of our longest-serving staff members and suppliers my whole life. Our longest-serving staff members, Alan McGovern, Graham Davies and Clare Charleston, have been with us since they were apprentices, with Alan joining us at the start of our journey back in 1985! Our tutors know the school and their craft inside out, sharing their expertise and knowledge with each student that passes through the school doors.
Students are encouraged to work both together and independently while taking this opportunity in their careers to learn from one another, their teachers and those graduates who have stayed on to grow their businesses on-site at our unique incubation hub, Myreside studios.
Our school is well-known in the local community and we have amazing relationships with local landlords and host families, who we rely on to accommodate our students during their studies. Locals are so welcoming when students arrive in the village and are genuinely interested in getting to know new faces. We believe that
by offering a warm and welcoming environment where our students feel safe, we allow them to flourish. Our students are safe in the knowledge that there is a comprehensive support system in place to help them every step of the way through their woodworking journey.
The Chippendale School provides a warm and welcoming environment for those seeking to pursue a passion for woodworking and craft a career in furniture making. We are now taking applications for our next Professional course – find out more by visiting our website.
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