AS stakeholders in the furniture industry are busy preparing themselves for the Cebu Next furniture show next year, organizers are also expanding the student internship program.

The Cebu Furniture Industries Foundation Inc. (CFIF) will be including students from the De La Salle University and the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, in addition to those from the University of San Carlos and UP Cebu Campus.

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Under the program, the students will be working with CFIF member companies to develop designs and products. Their work will also be shown at the Cebu Next 2011 exhibit.

For last year’s show, they had 12 companies participating in the student internship program. They had 26 interns with 28 design prototypes displayed.

The CFIF is encouraging its member companies to sign up for the internship program to enable the students to contribute their talents.

Organizers, meanwhile, said they will be improving the Mugna awards and citations, which are given to those with exceptional designs at Cebu Next, “to encourage more participation from exhibitors.”

The awards at stake are the best in furniture design, best home accessory, best booth, and best student design. Citations will also be given for material innovation, sustainable furniture and outdoor furniture design.