Rycotewood Apprentice of the Month

Alex Tu

Crafting his future  

Alex Tu is a furniture manufacturing apprentice at Benchmark Furniture in Kintbury, Berkshire. 

What makes Alex’s apprenticeship so unique is that on completing his qualification, he will gain both a Level 2 and Level 3 apprenticeship in furniture making. 

His apprenticeship combines a full-time role with block-release training at renowned centre of excellence, Rycotewood Furniture Centre, based at the City of Oxford College’s city centre campus. 

“I enjoy making stuff,” Alex said. “I started enjoying woodwork during my GCSEs because I did a BTEC in construction. Then I went onto A Levels, including product design. I was also able to do GCSE Resistant Materials at the same time.  

“I didn’t want to go to university after school as I didn’t like the studying aspect.”

Alex found out about the apprenticeship at Benchmark Furniture when two apprentices came in and did a presentation at his school. 

“I really enjoyed hearing about their experience. I applied to do the apprenticeship, did a week’s work experience with Benchmark Furniture, got interviewed and got it! So, it’s not like I was looking for it, but the opportunity arose, and I took it, and it was a good one! 

“I was inspired to pursue a career in furniture making by my construction, product design and resistant materials teachers. 

My product design teacher, Mrs Hayes encouraged me to apply for the apprenticeship. When the two apprentices from Benchmark came in, she said, ‘I think that this is a good opportunity for you Alex, you should follow it through and go for it’.”  

Alex completed his EPA for the Level 2 Furniture Manufacturer apprenticeship with Achieve+Partners achieving a Distinction grade.

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