ON the first day of National Apprenticeship Week, East Hampshire MP Damian Hinds welcomed staff from the Froxfield-based Edward Barnsley Workshop to his office at the Department for Education.

Manager James Ryan, craftsman-tutor Stephen Rock and three apprentices – Ian, Warren and Simon – visited the department to see the suite of mahogany furniture made by craftsmen from the workshop back in 1960, commissioned by the then Minister of Education David Eccles.

Education Secretary Mr Hinds said: “It was a privilege to have the team here from the Edward Barnsley Workshop, particularly during National Apprenticeship Week.

“All of the furniture-makers at the workshop complete a unique Barnsley Furniture Making Apprenticeship, equipping them with skills that keep the legacy of Edward Barnsley very much alive, and are much sought after within the industry.”

And he added: “The fact that this beautiful set of furniture is in daily use here at the department, nearly 60 years after it was made, is testament to the quality of the workshop’s craftsmanship, and the value that apprenticeships like this have for individuals, employers, local communities and the wider economy.”