BWF Chief sends letter to Chancellor asking to tackle skills gap

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BWF Chief sends letter to Chancellor asking to tackle skills gap

Iain McIlwee, Chief Executive of the British Woodworking Federation (BWF), has sent a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne underling problems and opportunities within the UK woodworking sector.

The letter - written ahead of the Government Budget announcement on March 16th - focused on four main themes:

  • Bad payment practice continues to undermine the market
  • Supporting UK Manufacturing 
  • Cost of doing Business
  • Nurturing the skills needed to meet demand

"The UK wood products manufacturing sector is a vital part of the UK economy supplying furniture and products for the construction industry, adding over £3 billion to the UK economy every year", said Mr Mcllwee. "Carpentry and joinery also represents the third largest sector of employment in the construction industry and brings skilled jobs to both rural and urban areas."

"Thanks to growth in construction and a realisation that renewable material is intrinsic to a sustainable built environment, we are optimistic about the future of the timber sector. Despite this we remain concerned that the benefits of this growth may not be fully realised in the UK and are not shared equally or in a timely fashion through the whole of the supply chain", BWF CEO warned.

Mr McIllwee particularly pointed out the problem of skills gap in the Woodworking sector, as already stressed by the BWF Joinery State of Trade Survey Q4 2015: "We should be looking at clearing systems for apprentices in order to prevent wastage and also help to target interested parties with information and informed choice.  Developing a meaningful and scalable interface with schools is a priority as adequate careers guidance in schools is now non-existent. This is not the fault of schools as they are being pushed towards academic subjects but there is a fundamental failure to help young people to understand the choices they have, let alone prepare them for them."

Read the complete letter here.


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