Our Traditional French Artisans in Australia: Webinar Replay

For more than nine centuries Les Compagnons du Devoir “The Companions of Duty” have been providing high-quality training for young people in a variety of manual trades. Training offers both apprenticeships and higher-level skills training for traditional and modern techniques. Trainees move between workplaces all over France and abroad, learning a trade but also about themselves, through the experience of different people and cultures. Training helps students achieve high intellect in one of 30 trades from initial qualifications through to Masters degree (Australian equivalent). There are a handful of artisans in Australia with exposure to this level of training.

Les Compagnons du Devoir is one of two schools in the world recognised under UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage safeguarding program.

Watch Thomas (a blacksmith and metal fabricator) and Laurent (a furniture maker) with fellow Compagnons, Anthony (joiner) and Bertrand (pastry chef), as they discuss our 800-year-old legacy, rigorous study pathway, French traditions, their completed major works, through to life now in Australia.

This is the last webinar episode of the first series, which discusses French culture by a panel of experts mostly living in Australia, and all speaking English. These free events have been curated by Le Festival Brisbane.

Click play below

Key Presentation Takeaways

This type of study is unavailable in Australia in the Trade and construction industry. Australian tradies achieve a Certificate 3 to obtain their qualifications.

The level of training and intellect Compagnons achieve is equivalent to a Master’s Degree.

Some Australians seeking further education can apply for grants, like the Churchill Fellowship program, to learn these skills in Europe. If they are studying in France, there is a good chance their teachers are also Compagnons.

Compagnonnage has a unique and strict education system.

To start the journey to become a Compagnon, the first step is to complete a two-year apprenticeship.

To then start your “Tour de France”, with the approval of Compagnon Elders, each student is then required to make an Adoption Piece for assessment. If passed, students may start their Tour and will then become known as an “Aspirant”.

It takes up to five years to complete the Aspirant level to gain enough experience. The assessment to formally graduate as a Compagnon is a process in itself. Each Aspirant must again ask the Elders if they are technically and spiritually ready to start the process of making a “Masterpiece” for final assessment.

There is no monetary exchange for tuition as Compagnons is a not-for-profit association. When Compagnons complete their Masterpieces, they are required to pay their skills forward to the next generation of Aspirants by serving in a management or teaching role for 2-3 years within the association.

One aspect within the unique philosophies of Compagnons is focussing studies on balancing the hard and soft skills. It has been a fundamental process they have used for centuries.

The first years of study are completed manually – only with hand tools – to ensure they have the right mindset to manoeuvre their hands precisely and safely during manual labour.

In current times it is not commercially viable for Compagnons to do all their work by hand and often use power tools.

In 2010, Les Compagnons du Devoir became recognised by UNESCO under their “Intangible Cultural Heritage” safeguarding program for their “network for transmitting knowledge and identities by the profession”.

Les Compagnon du Devoir is one of two educational facilities in the world to achieve this recognition.

Unfortunately, no aspects of Australian culture have been recognised and safeguarded under this program yet.


Once the criteria for the Essentials package have been exhausted, any more time will be charged hourly.

We have formulated this package based on seven years of tested research. We have analysed our clients’ journey from research and development through to quote acceptance for one bespoke designed quality kitchen for the average family home.

We discovered that 90% of clients who have already researched their design and lifestyle needs for their cabinetry would run with their first strong idea because it is the most considered concept.

The purpose of the package is a concise way for our seasoned professionals to take a pragmatic approach to refine your considerations.

If you find this package does not suit your needs, then we recommend selecting the Comprehensive option, where you can allow time to explore more options.

  • Return travel to and from our Mullumbimby workshop
  • Materials selection
  • Room measurements
  • Design layout and spacial planning
  • Research
  • Negotiating the best prices with our suppliers
  • Proposal preparation
  • Other necessary documentation and administration activities


Laurent also plays the classical acoustic guitar ;)

Legacy of the Antipodes holds the intellectual property rights to our unique style of flood-resilient cabinets that have been engineered, designed and tested to meet our renowned high standards.

While we can accept input from other design professionals, we expect to spend time researching and verifying the design to ensure it meets our standards.

Suppose you have already engaged with a reputable, experienced professional interior designer or architect. In that case, it is normal for us to receive a set of finalised floor and elevation plans that include measurements and a specified list of materials (product schedule). Each designer’s methodology and scope of works can be different.

If plans are missing details, we may be able to make a provisional price range which will have to be refined further during subsequent consultation time. During peak times, we request you return to your original designer for a complete design; otherwise, your will experience a delay in our process.

PRO TIP: The more detail your designer specifies, the less likely you will find unrealised costs across the entire construction project, not just cabinetry.

Yes, we love working on large projects like commercial shop fitting.

It is essential to ensure that all commercial projects are highly durable as they command higher usage than domestic ones. In addition, food premises need to ensure fit-outs are food-safe compliant.

Both front and back-of-house projects involve more research and are on a larger scale than domestic projects; therefore, we recommend working on the Comprehensive service.

We offer in-house Interior Design services with our Director, Lisa. She can assist with a full-service interior design to round out the room or an entire home.

Laurent will only coordinate the benchtop supply and installation and any in-house metalwork. Lisa sources and manages all other trades under our Interior Design portfolio of services.

Receiving payment confirms your booking.

Essential service payment is due at the time of booking.

Comprehensive service payment is due for the minimum commitment prior to the meeting commencement date.

Any work beyond the scope of the selected service will be charged hourly.

Invoices will be issued weekly, or before if a proposal is ready to be sent.

Designs and proposals are not released until all outstanding invoices are paid in full.

Changes need to be notified in writing via email.

A minimum of two business days’ notice is required for rescheduling meetings. Clients will be sent additional administration fees (10% of the first service payment’s value) will be charged per occurrence.

If the rescheduling notice occurs within two business days before the meeting, 100% of the first service payment’s value will be forfeited.

Cancellations are not permitted once payment has been received.


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Our Traditional French Artisans in Australia: Webinar Replay