Project Manager, furniture-making
NEJ Stevenson

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Dean W

0:00:02 My name’s Dean W and my job title is Project Manager. As Project Manager, it’s my job to take the initial drawings from usually the architect or interior designer through to the actual piece of furniture and right through to installation. I get involved with a variety of projects from single standalone items of furniture right through to complete apartment or house refurbishments.

00:00:28 One of my most recent projects which was Stoke Rochford Hall which was a large library which was heavily carved and detailed and a lot of work involved in that. The library was destroyed in a fire so we had to manufacture a replica of that library using only existing photos. It was a brilliant project to work on, yeah. I learnt a lot on that project.

00:00:52 When I was a kid, I didn’t, I didn’t actually know what I wanted to do but I knew I was good with my hands, I was very practical and I enjoyed all of those types of subjects and I even did drystone walling which at school which was an extra curriculum sort of activity which is a little bizarre but it was fun.

00:01:13 There was very little advice on other options, to be honest. When you see your careers adviser, it’s… you’re good with your hands, be a joiner or go be a bricklayer. That kind of advice, it’s…it was always very limited.

00:01:28 On my work experience, I went to a cabinet makers workshop where I then actually went from there to actually gaining an apprenticeship with that company.

00:01:40 My role at the end of my apprenticeship was on the end of the production line, the carcass would come down the production line, basically put the hanging rails in, the doors on, the mirror on the carcass, drilled for the knobs, put a ticket on it to say it was ready for dispatch and sent it down a production line which was kind of soul destroying really when you’ve spent three years training as a cabinet maker to then be on the end of a production line with an airgun.

00:02:07 From there, I decided well I’ve had enough of this and I want to use the skills that I’ve learnt so I upped and left and went to university. It was a big move. It was…that was…I think that was my first conscious decision within my career that I actually made and knew it was the right decision to make.

00:02:28 Firstly to be away from my parents, away from…just being a free person. It was great. The first year of the course was very much practical and so I found that very easy. What would take what was a four week structured lesson plan took me a week so I was idly twiddling my thumbs for three weeks or down the Student Union. But the course itself, the design side of it was excellent. I learnt a lot of skills that I’m now using today and continue to use.

00:03:02 At the end of the university course, I was already applying for a position with a local cabinet making company prior to leaving university. I was taken on by that company and continued to work for them for a further year and then from there I applied for the position here.

00:03:22 I was actually my partner Kirsten who actually convinced me to apply for this role. After reading the advertisement, it seemed a little above my capability and my experience but I was convinced by my partner to apply for it. I did and got an interview and ultimately actually got the job.

00:03:40 Where do I see myself in 20 years’ time, I don’t know. I have pondered that question myself and I actually think that I might actually completely change my career in 20 years’ time. I don’t know, may be to something that’s actually helping others more as opposed to…at the moment, what I do is create items of luxury furniture items effectively for rich people and I may be like to just help people as opposed to creating things that people don’t necessarily need.


Dean W is a Project Manager in NEJ Stephenson, a Cabinet Makers. He says “what I do is create luxury furniture items”. He started as an apprentice cabinet maker and wanting more challenge he eventually went to university to study furniture design. He now manages making very high quality items.

More information about Business and financial project management professionals

average salary

The UK average salary is ÂŁ29,813

average weekly hours

There are 37.5 hours in the average working week

56%  male 
44%  female 

The UK workforce is 47% female and 53% male

Future employment

Future employment?

? Job holders in this unit group manage and oversee major projects across all sectors of modern industry, commerce and the public sector, in areas such as e-commerce, business analysis, finance, product development, marketing, human resources.
Entry may be via a degree or postgraduate qualification in project management or a subject relevant to the particular sector or via significant relevant work experience in that sector.
  • Finds out what the client or company wants to achieve;
  • Agrees timescales, costs and resources needed;
  • Draws up a detailed plan for how to achieve each stage of the project;
  • Selects and leads a project team;
  • Negotiates with contractors and suppliers for materials and services;
  • Ensures that each stage of the project is progressing on time, on budget and to the right quality standards;
  • Reports regularly on progress to the client or to senior managers.
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