Institute of Carpenters
April, 1890 the Institute of Carpenters was founded. It began with 11 dedicated craftsmen. Each of them had the desire to achieve excellency, which is why they they acquired first class passes by The Worshipful Company of Carpenters in regards to new exams. The role of this company was basically to over-see the training and learning progress for all joiners and carpenters. Their main efforts were to bring a high level of standards during a time where lots of people showed concerns in regards to the art of traditional skills being lost. People were so concerned about this, including Prince Albert, were worried mainly due to industrialization, that they began to force the craft into schools as a requirement.
What they realized was that the industry would need workers that were properly trained. These properly trained workers needed to have the traditional skills which included bench work, and also the ability to operate machines in a productive manner safely.
These types of workers are always in demand. Changes to school material and curriculum meant that very few children were being given a proper introduction to the craft skills needed in industrialization. What the Institute of Carpenters adopted, and has always adopted since they were founded, was a reasonable and logical approach to change. Over time the competition format, and all exam syllabuses have evolved to include the latest techniques and practices.
The IOC has initiated its own non-GCSE vocational craft course in schools and together with other national training organisations in the construction industry is supporting the new GNVQ (General national Vocational Qualification) for 16+ students. It has also included built up close links with, technical research, training boards bodies and the trading standards authorities. Organisations such as the Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA), the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), the British Standards Institute (BSI), the Building Research Establishment (BRE), the City and Guilds of London Institute, the Health & Safety Executive (HSE) . . . Access to help or information from these or any other relevant institutions can be easily arranged in regards to the IOC. Some of the essential important points was to help each and every generation of carpenters and joiners to work efficiently with the materials, machines and legislation of that time. The Institute of Carpenters is always committed to keeping its members one step ahead of the rest. This has always been one of IOC’s top priorities.
The Worshipful Company of Carpenters received its Royal Charter from Edward IV in 1477, confirming it as a City Livery Company. The late medieval times really were the heyday of the craft guilds. Rich men and rich institutions (like the church) enjoyed spending their money on magnificent buildings. Masons and carpenters were in great demand and, after a 7 year-long apprenticeship, both could look forward to their own prosperous careers as journeymen or master craftsmen. 500 years on The Worshipful Company of Carpenters is still flourishing in its prestigious hall on Throgmorton Avenue in the City of London.