A new educational partnership is to continue the legacy of preparing furniture designers and makers for their future careers.

The Rycotewood Furniture Centre has partnered with Oxford Brookes University to deliver the Furniture: Design and Make Foundation Degree and BA (Hons).

Rycotewood’s programmes have been validated by Oxford Brookes and will be delivered at City of Oxford College, which is part of Activate Learning (an education and training group which runs schools, further education colleges and work-based training across Oxfordshire and Berkshire, and delivers higher education and international study programmes).

Axminster Tools & Machinery has a strong relationship with Rycotewood going back many years and welcomes this positive news securing future furniture degree courses.

Joe Bray, higher education programme co-ordinator at Activate Learning, said: “The Rycotewood name has a rich heritage in furniture design and making. The centre has been training students in the design and craft of fine furniture since the 1930s.

“In recent years this has included university-level programmes which prepare graduates for careers with some of the biggest names in industry. Our students have gone on to work for companies such as Benchmark, Matthew Burt, Philip Koomen and Halstock as well as building their own enviable reputations as bespoke designers and makers.

“Students also achieve success in national competitions on an annual basis. In 2015 these included winners of the prestigious Alan Peters’ Award, The Mixology Student Furniture Designer of the Year, New Forest Trust Fine Furniture Competition, Worshipful Company of Furniture Makers Bespoke Student Awards and Art in Action Student Art and Design Competition.

“This new partnership with Oxford Brookes University will strengthen our programmes even further and we look forward to working with colleagues in the faculty of technology, design and environment to equip students with the creative skills demanded by industry.

“The commitment to the future of furniture design and craft degree programmes is particularly encouraging at a time when programmes have closed elsewhere. The overwhelming support and enthusiasm from the Oxford Brookes team bodes well for the future of Rycotewood and the wider industry.”

The Furniture: Design and Make Foundation Degree is a full-time two year course. On completion, students can choose to take a further top-up year to achieve the BA (Hons) qualification. The courses are now open for applicants wishing to start in September 2016.

To find out more visit the Activate Learning website or email he@activatelearning.ac.uk.