Aylesbury business owner claims industry award for support and promotion of apprenticeships

It is the fifth industry award his company has claimed in under a year
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A business owner in Aylesbury has received another industry award for his company’s apprenticeship scheme.

Simon Taylor, managing director of Aylesbury-based Simon Taylor Furniture has been awarded the Outstanding Contribution to the Kitchens and Bathrooms Industry Award 2023 at the BKU Awards.

It is the fifth gong the business has captured in the past 12 months.

Simon Taylor receives Outstanding Contribution Award at the BKU Awards, photo from Will IrelandSimon Taylor receives Outstanding Contribution Award at the BKU Awards, photo from Will Ireland
Simon Taylor receives Outstanding Contribution Award at the BKU Awards, photo from Will Ireland

Simon was given the award in recognition of his long-standing support and promotion of apprenticeship schemes. Comedian Seann Walsh presented Simon with his award on 9 June at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London.

Judges highlighted his ongoing programme to educate and train apprentices in bespoke cabinetmaking and joinery, an academic and work-based programme he runs in partnership with Rycotewood College in Oxfordshire.

Having attended Rycotewood during the 1980s, leaving as a master cabinetmaker, Simon Taylor set up his eponymous business in Buckinghamshire in 1985.

Today, the company specialises in the design, manufacture and installation of luxury bespoke kitchen, bathrooms, bedrooms and fitted furniture, and all timber cabinetry is handcrafted on site at its cabinet workshop in Bierton. Simon Taylor Furniture employs 22 people, including designers, cabinetmakers, installers and it has always run an apprenticeship scheme.

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In 2021, Simon Taylor Furniture joined forces with Rycotewood College to offer a programme where its apprentices work at the workshop, and attend college over a two-year period. They can earn while they learn the skills to become a bespoke cabinet maker and, at the end of the course, they receive a recognised qualification.

In April, this year, the company held its first Apprenticeship Open Day to recruit a new apprentice and the successful candidate will start work to coincide with the start of the academic year at the Oxfordshire college in September.

As well as the latest accolade the company has been awarded Bathroom Design of the Year and Apprenticeship Programme of the Year at the KBBFocus Awards.

In April, this year, Simon Taylor Furniture achieved another double success at the kbbreview Retail and Design Awards 2023 for Bathroom Designer of the Year and for Installation Company of the Year.

Simon said: “I am so pleased and honoured to have received this Outstanding Contribution Award, one that specifically recognises the work we have done as a business to offer apprenticeships over the past three decades. It has always been a passion of mine to ensure that we can teach and educate the craftspeople and makers of the future.

“I cannot emphasise enough how satisfying it is to hire an apprentice and to teach them the skills they require to enter the full-time workplace. I hope that SME’s and manufacturing companies, like mine, will be more proactive in offering apprenticeship schemes in the future, especially where they can work in partnership with craft and technical colleges. If we can do it, then other businesses can too.”

The two most recent recruits to join the award-winning apprenticeship scheme started with the company in October last year.

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