Industry News

CYT launches Campaign to boost work placements across Construction Industry

The Construction Youth Trust (CYT) has recently launched the campaign #ExperienceConstruction in partnership with the Building Magazine.

The initiative aims to encourage young people, parents and teachers, and the industry to consider work experience placements in construction.

Along with the #ExperienceConstruction campaign page, the activity is supported by a brand new careers hub – a growing resource for teachers, parents and young people.

"We believe that to encourage young people to enter the industry and help fill the skills gap, they need to understand the sector and get a taste of the wide range roles which are available to them – particularly those which they may not have been aware of",  said the Construction Youth Trust in a note.

"Work experience placements are vital to this – 1-2 weeks where a young person can shadow employees in multiple roles and really understand the opportunities on offer. All too often, work experience placements are undertaken by those who have friends or family in the industry – but the Trust want to challenge this and broaden the reach to those who might not otherwise get a foot in the door."

"The construction industry suffers from negative perceptions, and opening its doors to welcome students is a crucial step towards challenging these misconceptions. As the current workforce ages and retires, it is their responsibility to pass on their knowledge and experience."

Sarah Richardson, editor of the Building, added: “Construction offers a hugely varied range of career opportunities for young people, but many are simply not aware of the roles on offer as they have no contact with those working in the industry."

To get involved in the #ExperienceConstruction Campaign, you can pledge a placement, or share a story of how a work experience placement has had a positive impact on your career.


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Innovative CLT tulipwood structure 'The Smile' to be unveiled at London Design Festival

The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) has collaborated with Alison Brooks Architects, Arup and the London Design Festival to present a cross-laminated tulipwood structure, ‘The Smile’ at the Chelsea College of Art Rootstein Hopkins Parade Ground from 17 September until 12 October.

The Smile is one of the Festival’s Landmark Projects, which can be inhabited and explored by the public. The spectacular, curved, tubular timber structure measures 3.5m high, 4.5m wide and 34m long and is effectively a beam curving up at both ends. Showcasing the structural and spatial potential of cross-laminated American tulipwood, Alison Brooks' concept is the first ever ‘mega-tube’ made with construction-sized panels of hardwood CLT.

The Smile is the first project in the world to use large hardwood CLT panels, in fact the entire structure is made from just 12 huge tulipwood panels, each up to 14m long and 4.5m wide. Fabricating these panels in a real CLT production plant has been an important step forward, showcasing how the material can be used for commercial projects.

Architect Alison Brooks said: "The Smile’s form itself is an invitation to test whether the pavilion moves, and how it feels to walk in on a curved floor. A single door and ramp from the square invites visitors to enter – something like our archetypal image of Noah’s Ark. Inside the door light spilling from the ends of the arc will invite you to walk up the slope of the curve to balconies at either end, rather like looking out from the rail of a ship."

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Indonesia will be first country to export FLEGT licensed timber as from November 2016

Indonesia and the European Union today agreed that from 15 November 2016 Indonesia can issue ‘FLEGT’ licences to verified legal timber products it exports to the EU. 

The decision makes Indonesia the first country in the world to achieve this major milestone in the global effort to combat illegal logging and associated illegal timber trade. 

This agreement was made at the 5th Joint Implementation Committee, which oversees the implementation of the Indonesia-EU Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade - Voluntary Partnership Agreement (FLEGT VPA). Indonesia and the EU signed the Agreement in Brussels on 30 September 2013, completing negotiations of the VPA. 

Indonesia has developed a system for assuring that all timber products harvested or imported, transported, traded, processed and exported comply with national laws on environmental, social and economic aspects identified by stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society. The country’s timber legality assurance system, called Sistem Verifikasi Legalitas Kayu (SVLK), is subject to independent monitoring by civil society and periodic evaluation by an independent auditor. The implementation of the FLEGT licence means that the Indonesian SVLK meets the requirements of the VPA with the EU. 

“Indonesia has achieved great progress in bringing its forest sector under control and improving transparency, participation and other aspects of good forest governance through a process of dialogue and compromise among all stakeholder groups,” said Putera Parthama, Director General of Sustainable Forest Management at Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestry, and co-chair of the JIC. “By addressing legality we have built the foundation for sustainable forest management and action to address climate change. We have met the high certification standards of the EU.”

In addition to improving governance and increasing government revenues, the FLEGT licence benefits timber traders. FLEGT-licensed products automatically meet the requirements of the EU Timber Regulation, which prohibits operators in the EU from placing illegally harvested timber and products derived from illegal timber on the EU market. EU operators can therefore place FLEGT-licensed timber on the EU market without doing due diligence. 

The JIC also agreed on joint activities until the end of 2017 through which the EU and Indonesia will oversee the continual improvement of Indonesia’s timber legality assurance system and wider VPA implementation. The plan will address continuation of the multistakeholder process, data collection, independent forest monitoring, enforcement, and monitoring the EU market for FLEGT-licenced timber products. 

“The decision to begin FLEGT licensing is a landmark achievement in a partnership that links EU businesses and consumers with legal traders in Indonesia,” said Vincent Guérend, the EU Ambassador to Indonesia and co-chair of the JIC. “By guaranteeing legality, FLEGT licences should not only make business more efficient for traders in both Indonesia and the EU but also strengthen governance and ensure fairness to all forest stakeholders. They are the result of increasing transparency and better accountability and stakeholder participation in decisions about forests. Today, all of Indonesia’s timber exports are from independently audited factories and forests.” 

The EU has already completed internal procedures to recognise FLEGT licences from Indonesia. Competent authorities and timber importers in the 28 EU Member States are now preparing to receive the world's first shipments of FLEGT-licensed timber.

A report on the JIC meeting will be published on the websites of the Indonesia’s Ministry of Environment and Forestryand the EU Delegation to Indonesia, the EU FLEGT Facility and the Multistakeholder Forestry Programme.

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Snows Timber joins WWF Sustainable Wood Sourcing Campaign

Snows Timber, one of UK’s largest timber importers and distributors, has joined colleagues across the timber Industry, including the Timber Trade Federation, in signing the WWF UK Forests Campaign Pledge, to source all wood legally and sustainably by 2020.

Snows Timber's wood purchasing already stands at 99% from certified sources and the company is actively working to change the final 1%.

“Having been one of the pioneers taking up timber chain of custody certification many years ago, signing the WWF-UK Forests Pledge helps us to further focus on increasing own sustainability and to also provide a greater service to our customers,” says Snows’ Product Director Mark Bowers.

Snows Timber will also distribute postcards promoting the WWF Forests Pledge to merchants at the Builders Merchants Federation’s members’ day (20-21 September 2016) and beyond.


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Indonesia sets 5-year target for wood exports at US $5 bn

As reported by the International Tropical Timber Organization (ITTO), the Indonesian government has set a target for wood product exports at US $5 billion (£3.7 bn) in five years.

Statistics from the Ministry of Industry showed that the export value of wood and rattan furniture was US$1.9 billion in 2014, rising to US$2 billion in 2015.

To help the private sector achieve the five-year target, Airlangga Hartanto, the Indonesian Minister of Industry, indicated that an all-out effort to encourage investment in the timber, furniture and national craft industries will be made along with a synergy of policies to realise the US$5 billion target. 

Mr Hartanto said his aim is to boost and strengthen the competitiveness of Indonesia's small and medium-sized industries so that they can compete with imported goods.

However, a big boost to the manufacturing sector in Indonesia would be needed if it is to contribute more than the current 20% to GDP, according to an analysis by Indonesia’s dependence on commodity exports makes it vulnerable to external threats.

Data from Indonesia's Industry Ministry explained that the domestic industry is growing at a slower pace than Indonesia's overall economy.


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