CTI Blog

CTI Blog - CTI launches largest ever survey on skill shortages in timber supply chain

This blog is by Dirk Vennix, CTI Chief Executive

I am really pleased to announce that the Confederation of Timber Industry (CTI) has published the largest employer skills questionnaire ever undertaken in the UK's Timber Industry Supply Chain. The views of businesses on skills and education will be summarised in a policy report to be published in the Spring of 2016. The CTI will present the findings to Government and key stakeholders in order to shape the political agenda on education and skills as indicated in our recently published strategic plan.

As I said in my previous blog about skills the CTI strongly believes that Education and Skills development is critical to ensure that Timber leads the way in 21st Century Construction. On the 23th of September 2015 the CTI network set up a specific working group on this subject involving a range of organisations and companies across the Timber Industry. We agreed that to start with we need to answer some basic questions: where are the skills shortages? Where will the supply come from? What is needed in terms of funding and infrastructure? How do we get the next generation to want a career in the timber sector?

The last major employers’ survey for the timber sector was conducted by Proskills in 2011. We now need up to date research which identifies the current level of skills shortages and gaps in education provision within the whole Timber Industry Supply Chain, from timber traders to timber frame manufacturers and builders’ merchants. It will be distributed to businesses through trade associations, training providers and other interested parties operating in the UK.

The CTI has commissioned Proskills to map current education providers delivering to the sector, highlighting gaps between supply and demand. Similarly, the research will identify areas of strength and excellence offering a catalyst for the engagement of the industry in improving skills, recruitment and training. 

Succession planning for an ageing workforce and gaps in provision are issues which need to be addressed. Few young people decide to choose timber as a career option, as repeatedly outlined by trade organisations, training providers and companies. This issue is exacerbated by the limited offer of further Education courses, apprenticeships and craft qualifications that affects the growth of the whole sector. It is time to turn the page addressing the problem with focused measures.

The launch of the survey represents a great opportunity for the timber industries to express their views about skills needs. Everyone is keen to encourage young people to go for a career in the timber sector. Depending on the outcomes of the survey the CTI could raise the profile of the industry with young people by supporting the launch of new timber related courses as well as helping increase the number of apprenticeships and developing an ambassadorial schools network across the supply chain. But first of all we need to hear your views so please help us to reflect what you need in the workplace by filling in the survey below.

The survey is accessible online or through a printable version, downloadable here.

Deadline for submissions: 5 February 2016