Apprentices display their new skills

Here at Forest, we have apprentices in a variety of roles, both in the offices and in the factory. One of our apprentices, Byron, has developed his skills massively whilst working at Forest. So much so, he has recently made and upholstered a sofa for our showroom.

Apprentices sofa

This represents huge progress for Byron, and shows how competent he has become during his course. “I’ve learnt a variety of skills whilst on my course, and being able to display them in the showroom in the form of a sofa just shows how much the course has benefited me.”

Our apprentices have learned valuable skills during their time here, and will soon move on to become skilled upholsterers, or take up other roles within the factory which make use of their transferable skills and experiences gained during their time at Forest Sofa. As we know well, upholstery is becoming a hard skill to find, so it’s refreshing to see young apprentices so enthusiastic about being involved in the manufacturing of furniture.

Apprentices Sofa

It’s not just Byron who we have gaining new skills and putting them to practice, we also have Tom and Lewis learning from other members of staff in our factory in other roles. We believe that working to develop apprentices will benefit both them and us as they progress and improve their skills and knowledge. Because of this, we’re actively looking to take on new apprentices all the time; with a new apprentice joining us just last week who will go through the same process and eventually move on to be an important member of our team.

Forest Sofa Receives Business Growth Award

Forest Sofa Wins Growth Award

Forest Sofa recently received an award for “Outstanding achievement and highest growth” at the Resilience for Sustainable High Growth Symposium and Awards, recognising the changes and development of the company during recent times.

Award

This comes after Ryan, our Managing Director, attended The Greater Manchester High Growth Network programme at Manchester Metropolitan University. We believe we won this award as recognition of our vision “To turn houses into homes, and buildings into venues”. This means that we are proud of what we produce because we understand how important a sofa is in any room. It can be the centre piece of a living room, a go-to option for relaxation or family time, or a piece to bring the whole room together. We know how imperative this is, and we think about this every time we make a piece of furniture.

Growth Award Image

The course, delivered at MMU’s Centre for Enterprise, included companies based in Greater Manchester who were aiming for high growth. The sessions included peer growth group sessions to give us a chance to network and speak to other companies about their experiences. The award was received at Emirates Old Trafford, where the companies involved could celebrate their achievements. The fact that we received this award acknowledges our tremendous growth in recent times, and reinforces our core values which have led to this growth.

We’re happy to receive the growth award, and we hope to continue our recent growth into the near future and beyond.

Forest Sofa-Christmas Jumper Day

Christmas Jumper day

Today, our staff have been celebrating Christmas Jumper Day! There has been a massive variety of jumpers, hats and accessories on show-there’s even a onesie!

We’ve picked the best ones and awarded them some prizes. Nissi gets first place with his homemade Christmas jumper, and he can be seen below showing it off.

Ryan comes in second with his onesie (which is shown in the group photo) and his colourful Christmas shirt.

In the factory, Gary and Matt get prizes for their fantastic jumpers. They both look pleased with their chocolate!

Overall, it was a great effort from the staff, and there were too many good ones to mention, but I’m sure you’ll be able to see them in the group photos.

Keep an eye on our social media pages for the full albums!

This yearly tradition also marks the start of our countdown to Christmas! There isn’t long before we close for the holidays, but check our social pages soon for our opening times for over Christmas period.

Upholstery Sewing Machinist – A dying profession ?

Forest sofa is proud to be able to provide a commercial and competitive range of upholstered seating solutions with our full range manufactured in Manchester, England.

Whilst proud to employ over 50 local staff, we are challenged by the apparent lack of skilled workers in the field of Upholstery Sewing / Machinist as well as Deep Buttoned Upholsterers.

Upholstery Manufacture in the North of England was a significant contributor to the UK’s Manufacturing output as recently as 20 years ago. Increasingly UK Manufacturers have switched their own production from sites in the UK to the Middle East or Eastern Europe, or have been forced out of Manufacturing all together. Some UK manufacturers have adopted a mix mode approach, offering a limited range from their UK factory, but producing the majority of the range overseas, at the expense of local workings. Workers in Preston were affected significantly in recent years by one well known manufacturer moving it’s production to maintain margin and remain competitive.

Forest Sofa Ltd is pleased to be one of the few UK Manufacturers that are able to grow in this challenging economic climate, and can do so by offering a good quality UK sofa at a fair price. “It’s no about being the cheapest when times are hard, it’s value that families are looking for.” Whilst Forest 2012 sales continue to impress and exceed expectations, the business is challenged in it’s growth by the apparent lack of skilled upholstery workers in the Manchester area. The downturn in local skills in manufacturing in general is as a result of the change in the manufacturing landscape in the UK and the North of England, a consequence of the effects of increased imports.

Chesterfield Sofas are a true British product that requires craft, skill and guile, the traits often past down through families from generation to generation is slowly being eroded through a period of short time working and years of disillusion. Getting skilled staff back into UK manufacturing is a challenge for Forest Sofa, but also many other UK manufacturers attempting to grow their business. The reach and search for the recruitment for the positions of Upholstery Machinist and Deep Buttoned Upholsterers is becoming wider, with adverts currently placed in the Bolton, Bury, Accrington and Macclesfield press.

Agencies propose a solution to the shortage, regrettably however often with workers based outside the UK.