Master Certificate Scheme

Recognising Excellence in the Craft of Upholstery, Soft Furnishings & Funeral Directors


The Worshipful Company of Upholders came into existence in 1360 and established as the 49th livery company in precedence of the City of London.

Today we nurture talent for the future of our industry by supporting the education of upholstery and soft furnishings students, and we provide help to people in need who are, or once were, involved in the upholstery, soft furnishings and funeral professions via grants, services and support.

The Master Certificate Scheme, in partnership with City & Guilds, aims to recognise excellence and promote career progression from Apprentice Craftsman to Master level. In that recognition the person receiving the award has not only reached the requirement in training and practice but has individually contributed to the industry and supported those working within it.

The Route to Awards:

In order to qualify for a certificate at any of the three levels, the candidate must provide evidence of having achieved an appropriate level of responsibility and having technical knowledge within the sector in which they work.

Craftsman/Apprentice Certificate

Journeyman Certificate

Master Certificate

3. Application Process:

A panel of professional representatives from the Worshipful Company of Upholders will assess all applications. Following the submission of all relevant documents and success in the assessment, candidates will receive their Certificate carrying the signature of the Master of the Worshipful Company of Upholders and with the Master Certificate the Chairman of the Master Certificate Scheme.

4. Requirements to Satisfy Condition for the Master Certificate Scheme:

Anyone who practices the crafts of upholstery, soft furnishings or funeral professions can be nominated. The candidate must provide evidence of having achieved an appropriate level of responsibility and have a technical knowledge in the sector in which they work and submit evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) when submitting their Curriculum Vitae.

Craftsman/Apprentice Certificate – Candidates should:

Hold a Level 2 qualification or equivalent training

Be enrolled on a course of study leading to a Level 3 qualification course or have been employed in the upholstery, soft furnishings or funeral professions for a minimum of two years

Have shown progress in the quality of workmanship, endorsed by the candidate’s nominee.

Demonstrate a desire to become a Craftsman in a written statement of 200-400 words that confirms the level of expertise to date and endorses an ambition to become a Journeyman and, ultimately, become a Master Certificate holder.

Journeyman Certificate – Candidates should:

Hold a Level 3 qualification or equivalent training

Demonstrate excellence and experience in their Craft following their training (normally a minimum of five years of appropriate employment after completing their training).

Provide a portfolio of photographic evidence together with professional verification by their nominee.

Demonstrate a desire to become a Journeyman Certificate holder by means of a written statement of 400-600 words that confirms the applicant’s level of expertise and endorses an ambition to ultimately become a Master Certificate holder.

Master Certificate – Candidates should:

Normally hold a relevant qualification at level 4 or above and/or

Be a director, manager, supervisor, lecturer, sole proprietor or experienced craftsman with a minimum of 15 years of appropriate employment since qualifying.

Produce a portfolio describing their career to date with photographic evidence of their work within the last 5 years, with evidence of their involvement in mentoring less experienced craftsmen.

Provide two references by employers or clients describing work done within the last 5 years, demonstrating capability and confirmation of expertise to date.

5. Application is by Nomination

We would like to process the application as effectively and efficiently as possible. Please complete each section below as fully as you can providing the information requested. Please include copies of all certificates as proof of any qualifications claimed and copies of any references. The application cannot proceed without this information.

6. The Code of Professional Standards

The criteria for the Master Certificate Scheme are exacting and before being accepted, candidates must conclusively prove their competence. Part of these criteria is a commitment to its Code of Professional Standards which states that they must:

Perform professionally, competently and responsibly

To ensure to carry out their own work or supervise the work of others with due regard to technical quality, appropriate insurance cover and the interests of all concerned: Employers, employees and clients; communicating and performing in an acceptable standard; and with a duty of care to all concerned.

Safeguard the public interest in the environment and matters of public health and safety

Take all reasonable care to avoid causing damaging the environment or creating any danger of death, injury or ill-health to any person or damage to property arising from their actions.

Comply with all relevant laws, regulations, standards and codes

Work in accordance with the relevant statutory requirements and confirm to the appropriate British/European Standards and Codes of practice.

Broaden, improve and maintain the skills, knowledge and personal qualities

Keep up to date with developments in either upholstery, soft furnishings or funeral professions by participating in Continual Professional Development (CPD) and other relevant training activities.

Uphold the dignity, standing and reputation of the Master Certificate Scheme

Act professionally and adopt a form of behaviour and appearance that will not cause offence or embarrassment to others. To maintain the Scheme’s good name and that of the industry generally.

Abide by the Code of Professional Standards

Accept responsibility to comply and co-operate with the Scheme in the operation of its disciplinary procedures and any investigations that may occur as a result.