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  • Writer's pictureartifexaustralia

Upholstery in WA – a skills shortage

Did you know there were just 3 Upholstery Apprentices across Western Australia in 2020? 3 students at different stages of the 3-year apprenticeship. There is a skills shortage.

Some years ago, the upholstery trade lost its TAFE education in WA with candidates required to fly to Brisbane to do block courses if they were to complete the apprenticeship. Unfortunately this was not a viable option for so many, resulting in a shortage of qualified upholsterers and a large age gap between skilled craftsmen and women.

Artifex upholstery apprentices: Andrea and Robyn
Artifex upholstery apprentices: Andrea and Robyn

We are excited things have changed more

recently and you can now complete an upholstery apprenticeship locally, with North Metropolitan TAFE reopening this course. The intake of new students is slowly increasing, and we are thrilled to hear there have been 9 new apprentices start this year. It is also great to see an increase in female students undertake their upholstery training and at Artifex Australia we welcome Andrea, our first-year apprentice joining our 3rd year apprentice Robyn.

All kinds of furnishings are needed for commercial and residential use and so it is important we continue to train and share skills with the next generation. There is something special about doing this and it is a privilege to share our knowledge, traditional skills, and techniques of upholstery. Training more skilled craftspeople will allow us to continue handcrafting quality, bespoke, fine Australia-made furniture for many years to come.

Upholsterers make, rebuild, and repair upholstered pieces such as chairs, sofas, beds, and mattresses. They select, cut, sew, and fit fabric and leather upholstery materials. These skills are all taught within 3-year apprenticeship which involves a lot of on-the-job training combined with one day a week at North Metropolitan TAFE.


If you are interested in finding out more and what current opportunities are available, we would love to speak with you! You can email us at


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