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Furniture-making skills earn student a rare apprenticeship

Newark College student Josh Pengelly, 19, with a desk he has made. 120718DD1-1
Newark College student Josh Pengelly, 19, with a desk he has made. 120718DD1-1

A student at Newark College has earned an apprenticeship at one of the country’s top furniture-making companies.

Josh Pengelly, 19, has been a student at the college for the past three years.

He applied for a year’s apprenticeship at the Edward Barnsley Workshop, Hampshire, one of the highest-regarded furniture-makers in the country.

After being shortlisted following an interview, Josh impressed the employer with a number of pieces created at Newark College.

During his time there, he produced a variety of pieces, including a chair and desk of his own design, as well as working on a cabinet and chairs for the National Trust.

“It should be an amazing experience. I am really excited,” Josh said, commenting on his apprenticeship.

“They do keep some people on after the year is over, but just being able to say I have worked with them will be great.

“I have got a great tutor, met some fantastic people on this course, and used some great workshop machinery with no real constraints, which allows you to make whatever you can think of.

“I enjoy the craftsmanship involved and being this good at something means you can take pride in your end product.”

Josh was the only person to apply to the company to be offered an apprenticeship, and believes he will be making and selling smaller items, including breadboards and lamp stands.

Mr Richard Preece, course leader at Newark College, said: “He is very precise and very calm with his approach to the work.

“He keeps going when things don’t always go to plan. He is persistent and works his way through to the end of the product.

“Josh basically has the perfect character for a furniture maker — calm and collected.”

He said Josh was the first student of the college to get into the Edward Barnsley company as an apprentice.

“It is a unique opportunity,” he said.

“Most of the famous names to do with bespoke furniture have come through the apprenticeship.

“He has earned his place and I am sure he is going to go far.

“We have a lot of talented students come through here at the college as there are only a handful of colleges in the country that will run this course.

“Now we need to keep the momentum going and seeing more students come, or else people could lose these opportunities.”

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