Meet the Team: Ian Towers


We would like to introduce you to our team!  We continue our series with Ian Towers who began his apprenticeship in September 2016.


What did you do before starting as an apprentice at the Barnsley Workshop?


Before starting at the Barnsley Workshop, I studied furniture-making at Moulton College. The course taught me basic hand skills which I was able to improve over the three years. It also gave me lots of opportunities, like entering the Skillbuild Competition.


What attracted you to the Barnsley Workshop apprenticeship?


From day one of my college course the Barnsley Workshop was billed as the place to be. I was told it’s where the best of the best train, and that’s what I wanted to be. That sparked my initial interest. But after looking into it further and finding out about the history and seeing first-hand the pieces they make, the Workshop was even more appealing.


How did you feel when you first started your training?


I was nervous starting my training as I thought I might not live up to what was expected of a Barnsley apprentice. However, the style of teaching and training I received helped me build up my confidence.


Looking back what was for you the most significant lesson?


Knowing the difference between a sharp tool and a really sharp tool. Having well sharpened tools makes a massive difference.


What have been the highlights of your time at the workshop?


There have been many highlights for me at the workshop. One that stands out is finishing my first breadboard and seeing my initials next to the Barnsley stamp. Another highlight was being told about my first commission, which was a large olive ash bookcase.


 What has been your most challenging project?


My most challenging project to date was a chair I have recently finished. I went into the project

knowing nothing about making chairs. I learnt a lot and I am really pleased with the result.


If you could choose to make anything, what would be your dream project? 


If I had the choice I would like to be able to make a hayrake-stretcher dining table.