Emerging Turners Programme

Emerging Turners Programme

Introduction – As part of an initiative by the RPT to change the demographic of woodturning in the UK, we are identifying, supporting and encouraging the next generation of woodturners, artists and makers-in-wood here in the UK. This will promote their continuing development and help to ensure woodturning prospers as a professional, exciting, relevant craft in the UK.

Students will be up-and-coming, UK-based woodturners with a professional ambition. It follows on from where the AWGB Youth Training leaves off.

The gathering together of these emerging turners creates a network of talented makers, some of whom had never before met another turner of similar age!  It also provides much needed training, encouragement and support in the business aspect of woodturning. The workshops provide a safe place to ask questions and glean wisdom from the established professional tutors on hand, but also from each other.

The selection criteria comprises: age (between 18 and 35 yrs), that they are already turning practitioners, running their own business, working for furniture/woodworking companies or wanting to pursue artistic turning.

Photograph courtesy of Nathan Savory

The First Workshop – In August of last year, eighteen students took part in the first three-day workshop in this programme. It took place at the Max Carey Woodturning Trust. Mary Ashton, Jason Breach, Sally Burnett, Richard Findley and Phil Irons were the main tutors, with Stuart Mortimer and Carl Burn giving presentations on design, use of technology and how to run a successful business.  Ron Caddy was a guest, representing the AWGB who has been instrumental in organising youth training for the AWGB over many years. It was felt important that he should witness, first hand, the efforts of the RPT and to see that we were providing for a different cohort to that which the AWGB offers training.

Results  –  One of the big outcomes was genuine delight from the students that they had found each other – other turners of their own age; to find themselves in a workshop where they were not the only young turner present was a rarity and luxury, making this networking opportunity priceless.

Photograph courtesy of Nathan Savory

Student reflections and thoughts were many fold and documented via twelve short films of fifteen students. These were taken after the third completed day of the workshop. They are raw and unedited.


With the three main practical themes of boxes, spindle turning and hollow forms complimenting each other, there were a great many, really good questions being asked – always an indication of the desire to learn. The students applied themselves well and were really engaged with tasks, tutors and each other. It was a full-on weekend with no one having a chance to get bored or have their attention wander but everyone could still work at their own pace. 

Photograph courtesy of Nathan Savory

Conclusion  –  Success of this workshop is due to the students working so well together and the tutors supporting each other and being very forthcoming with their knowledge and expertise.There is undoubtedly a need and desire for more of these types of workshops to be organised. It was also a pleasant surprise to witness just how many people applied for this workshop. There are so many more young woodturners of whom we know little. We must endeavour to reach these woodturners and artists to develop a much broader network of younger practitioners.

Sponsorship and Funding  –  The workshop would not have been possible were it not for the cooperation and generous funding from the Worshipful Company of Turners (WCT). The RPT is grateful for the WCT’s continued support of the Craft. 

The Future  –  Another workshop has been arranged for 2023, this time at the Birstall Woodturners Workshop in Mirfield. The Emerging Turners themselves have arranged fundraising events to compliment funds offered by the WCT. This shows the commitment and how important these young students of woodturning feel about this programme.

Photograph courtesy of Nathan Savory

The fundraising comprises a donation page –


and a selling platform 


100% of the donations and sales go directly to funding the training programme. Each piece of work that you see listed has been generously donated by it’s creator and is a testament to their passion and excitement in supporting the Emerging Turners Programme. We welcome any donation you could offer. 

We are indebted to all who have and continue to support this initiative. Your generosity, forward thinking and excitement for the future of woodturning is so very welcome and appreciated. It is this type of broad team work which will ensure that woodturning remains a healthy and energetic craft in the UK.

Your RPT Committee