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In a bid to support the Bucks New University Foundation Degree in Kitchen Design, kitchen industry manufacturers have committed to try to find and fund candidates for the course.
Kitchen furniture manufacturer and retailer Roundhouse is one of a group of five companies who have pledged their support. The group also includes Blum, Sensio, Callerton and AFG. Alongside this, student bursaries, have also been offered by Miele, BSH, Mereway Kitchens and Hettich.
Speaking at the May Design Series, managing director of Roundhouse, Craig Matson explained why he was behind the degree course: “It’s needed. There’s no question about it and I don’t think there’s anyone in the industry who doesn’t think that. It is becoming more professional and people need to be reassured that they are dealing with professional people.”
Roundhouse plans to offer a job, which includes paid-for university fees of approximately £5,000 a year. The role will see a new employee work part-time for the company, while also studying part-time on the three year course.
Craig Matson said: “It’s a £5,000 commitment in terms of paying the university [per year] but it’s also [an investment in] employing the person. There will be a commitment to Roundhouse afterwards, obviously, having put them through the course.”
He believes it is the role of companies in the kitchen industry to invest into its future. Matson commented: “We’ve made a good living out of this industry for some time and it’s about us, the industry, generally looking at paying itself back.”
Matson also spoke of his ambition to encourage kitchen and bathroom multiples to put forward candidates for the university course: “I want to try and speak to the head of IKEA, the multiples and the bigger companies and there is certainly the ability for them to make use of the course.”
The course needs 10 people for it to be viable and students have to be on board, ideally, by the end of June, in preparation for a September start. Two course places have already been offered, with the third place currently in discussions.