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Reports and Studies



The furniture industry is characterised by innovation, new requirements with regard to a sustainable production, changing job profiles and constant mobility of workforce. Even though globalisation and competition has changed the face of the European furniture industry, the sector remains a competitive one. The sector is innovative in terms of design, materials and productivity, work organisation. Higher competition as a result of globalisation, outsourcing and specialisation, new technologies and materials, increased automation in manufacturing, regulations regarding ecology, health and safety and stronger customer orientation are factors that influence also the contents of Vocational Education and Training (VET). A highly qualified workforce is essential for the further development of the whole sector.

The European Social partners of the Furniture sector attach great importance to vocational education and training. For this reason, the European Social Dialogue Committee for the sector set up a special vocational education and training (VET) working group. Through the development of different activities the group established close cooperation between national and local training bodies, which regularly participate to the meetings and the activities of the VET working group.

Since a common certification system is still missing in the EU, vocational qualifications are not equally recognized in all countries. Furthermore, training often takes place in form of non-standardised and not-certified courses or through informal and non-formal learning, which limits the possibility to assess its quality.

The result of this project will also contribute to the EU policy making in the field of professional European Skills, Competences, Qualifications and Occupations. The EU classification will be able to benefit from an updated analysis of three professions, which will reflect the continuous changes in these professions and well as future needs. Also, the project is in line with the “New Skills Agenda for Europe”, in particular for the initiatives aiming at making VET a first choice and making skills and qualification, including both higher skills and those acquired through non-formal and informal learning, more comparable.

This report is a further follow-up of the Bolster-Up 1 project on furniture professions. The origin of the Bolster-Up project lies in the Leonardo da Vinci project on “Transparency for Upholstering and Cabinetmaking Qualifications and Quality in the European Furniture Industry”.

Bolster-Up 2 (2018 – 2020) builds on the first project (2012 – 2014). The project mainly aims to the recognition of qualifications and competencies for three professions in the (industrial) furniture sector:
1 Upholsterer, 2 Cabinetmaker and 3 Joiner.

These core profiles will support the activities to raise the quality of existing national VET programs.

This report focusses on the project results: 3 core profiles, documents we developed and the results concerning VET of these 3 occupations.

If you are interested in reading more about the Bolster-Up 1 project, please consult the website