Jon Beer is partner and C.O.O. of The Maderas Collective, a design-forward, hand-crafted furniture and accessories company based in Nicaragua, Central America.
The scholarship enabled Jon to study for a degree in Furniture Design and Craftsmanship at Buckinghamhire Chiltern University. Jon studied whilst working, reinforcing his design and academic skills, at the same time he was developing his business acumen and his technical knowledge. The academic route was opened up and after successfully finishing his degree Jon went on to study for his PGCE and MA(design). Jon maintains that without the initial support from QEST his journey would have been very different, and indeed far from his current position in Nicaragua.
After 7 years working in Latin America, mainly Nicaragua and Bolivia, Jon has developed a repertoire of skills to enable the production of a huge range of wood products, from furniture to surfboards to pre-fabricated wooden homes. He now leads a busy workshop of 20 craftsman he has trained to extremely high standards, reflecting his role as an educator, having previously taught in various colleges and universities in the UK and running OXFAM furniture training courses in Nicaragua. Current projects include several restaurants in NYC and a large residential project in Las Vegas.
Aside from intention to develop The Maderas Collective as the #1 custom furniture workshop in Central America, Jon intends to dedicate some of his time to formal training for local workers within the furniture sector, both in Nicaragua and Bolivia, where the impact will be greatest. He also intends to teach furniture making to his 2 year old son, once he can reach the switch on the saw...