Contact the following for details about training that is available:
- specific colleges that offer relevant specialist courses
- local colleges, which offer a range of vocational and business qualifications that may be relevant to your business
- local business support organisations
Two UK colleges are affiliated to the British Antique Furniture Restorers Association (BAFRA) and offer courses in the restoration of antique furniture. Other specialist restoration courses available include antique clocks, ceramics and fine metalwork. You can find out more on the BAFRA website.
BAFRA themselves have an educational remit to enhance the skills and knowledge of their membership. They also organise training days, seminars and conferences for members in various specialist subjects such as cabinet making, veneering and marquetry. You can find out more and get contact details on the BAFRA website.
West Dean College in Chichester offers professional training courses for conservators, restorers and horologists. Full-time courses are available in subjects that include furniture and related objects, ceramics, clocks, books and metalwork. Various short courses are also available for professional conservators. You can find out more on the West Dean College website.
The University of Central Lancashire offers a distance learning MA course in antiques, aimed at individuals with a professional or hobbyist interest in antiques including antique dealers. More information about the course is available on the University of Central Lancashire website.
Specialist training in antiques-related subjects is also available from various private training providers, such as the Regent Academy and Phillip Hodge Antiques. You can find out more about the training options available on their websites.
A wide range of vocational qualifications - including practical qualifications in subjects like furniture making, as well as retailing and general business - is available through the awarding body City & Guilds. You can find out more and search for relevant qualifications on the City & Guilds website.
In businesses like the antiques trade there's no substitute for experience. Ideally you will have been active in the industry for several years, either on a hobby basis or as an employee of someone else. When it comes to training your staff, you'll probably take responsibility for passing on some of your own knowledge and experience to them.