Where are they now – Andrew McMillan
Why did you choose the cabinetmaking apprenticeship?
Ever since I was little all I wanted to do is build things, and I’ve always loved using my hands. Throughout school, woodwork was always the class I enjoyed most and I knew I wanted to either be a cabinetmaker or a carpenter, then I did work experience with a local furniture craftsmen and after that I just knew that’s what I wanted to do.
What was the most challenging aspect of your role, within your Apprenticeship?
There were many challenging aspects of my apprenticeship, the most were probably after the sudden passing of a work colleague and my bosses ‘ right-hand man’. While dealing with that emotionally, I also had to step in my level of skill and responsibility all of a sudden as it was just the two of us, but the whole experience I believe made me progress further in the end.
What was your best moment as an Apprentice?
One of the best moments would have been being awarded the 1300apprentice of the year in 2012 and 2013, but throughout the whole apprenticeship just seeing the most amazing places and working with some of the most beautiful furniture, and getting to be a part of all that.
What do you see as the benefits of completing a Cabinetmaking Apprenticeship?
I think a great benefit of an apprenticeship is that you’re gaining skills and a qualification while getting paid and getting experience as you learn. As for cabinetmaking/furniture-making, it gives you a lot of fundamental skills for a lot of other trades and life in general and can branch out into many other areas of the woodwork.
Since completing your apprenticeship, what’s changed?
I have had some great experience working for myself for 12 months and am now employed by a different company, doing less furniture restoration and more fine furniture/ traditional kitchen making.
Describe your usual day.
Somedays can be ordinary like spending 8 hours cutting back sprayed components ready for painting, or other more mundane jobs but most of the time it’s making some beautifully designed furniture for someone, or reading plans and making traditional kitchens, bookcases, display cabinets, laundry’s, pantry’s, bathroom vanities etc. I work with a great team of people and in a nice area and everything is a nice challenge, and very fulfilling.
Would you recommend this type of apprenticeship to someone, why?
I would recommend this type of apprenticeship because it can be very rewarding and depend on where you work, you get to do things a lot of other people awe over but don’t get to do themselves. It’s challenging but not in a bad way, you learn some great skills and everything you do is different so it keeps it interesting.
Words of wisdom to someone thinking about working in this trade?
It can be challenging and like any other job it can have its ups and downs but you just have to have the right passion and willingness to learn, it is a very rewarding career and the possibilities are endless.
Future plans and aspirations?
I’m currently about halfway to saving for my first home, and I want to stay where I am, for the time being, gaining skills and experience then eventually get my own workshop and go from there. I am also working on a side project, which is unique barley twist lamps, and I hope to grow that further into the future.