Job as an upholsterer

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Andrew York is a micro-quilter working in Newcastle. The advanced stitching techniques he uses enhance the design of mattress and bed cover fabrics.

What does your job involve?

I am responsible for micro quilting 100m rolls of material. I load the rolls onto the machine, which is then set either manually or by computer. I then ensure the roll is accurately and properly quilted. Adjustments can be made whilst the machine is running. I work 35.5 hours a week, over five days.

What equipment do you use if any?

I use four different quilting machines. Three of these are manual and one is computerised. I also use an overlocking machine and an industrial sewing machine.

What training have you received?

I had 18 months initial training and I have trained on nearly every job in the factory in my 13 years here. In the past year, I have completed an NVQ in Performing Manufacturing Operations. I am now taking a computer course in the factory's own learning centre.

What was your route into this job?

I had a football injury which resulted in me losing a leg and I now use a prosthesis. The school I attended arranged for my placement.

What do you like best about your job as an upholsterer?

I enjoy working as part of a team and helping my colleagues.

What are the skills and qualities needed?

You need to be a good team player, precise and accurate in your work, and able to work on your own initiative. You must also be alert so you can spot possible problems.

Andrew's route to his job as an upholsterer

  • City & Guilds in Literacy and Numeracy.
  • City & Guilds in Personal Development.
  • NVQ Level 2 in Performing Manufacturing Operations.
  • Learn Direct computer course.

Andrew's upholsterer tips

  • Have a positive attitude.
  • Accept people as they are.
  • You never know what you can achieve until you try.

Upholsterer related jobs

  • Cabinet maker
  • Carpet fitter
  • Clothing alteration hand
  • Clothing pattern cutter/grader
  • Clothing sewing machinist
  • Floor layer
  • Leather craftworker
  • Shoe repairer

Salary of an upholsterer

  • Operatives in this industry earn between £12,000 and £18,000 a year.
  • It is possible to earn more with overtime payments and bonuses.

How to become an upholsterer

  • No particular qualifications are required to become an upholsterer, but some employers ask for a few GCSEs/S grades (A-E/1-5). Many recruit young people onto Apprenticeships. These lead to NVQ/SVQ Level 2 in Making and Installing Furniture, Level 3 in Making and Repairing Hand-Crafted Furniture and Furnishings, or Level 3 in Making and Installing Production Furniture.
  • Direct entry as a trainee is possible. Trainees may go to college part time to do courses such as City & Guilds Furniture or an NVQ/SVQ.
  • Full-time college courses usually cover a range of furniture skills. They include City & Guilds Furniture which normally takes two years, an NVQ/SVQ usually lasing one or two years, or a one year SQA national certificate course.

Modified: 16 June 2013

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