The Confederation of Timber Industry (CTI) and Proskills have launched the largest employer skill survey ever undertaken in the UK’s timber industry supply chain.

The research aims to identify the current level of skills shortages and gaps in education provision within the whole Timber industry supply chain, from forestry to builders’ merchants and manufacturers. It will be distributed to businesses and other interested parties through trade associations, research institutes and training providers operating in the UK.

Through the survey, CTI and Proskills will 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.

The collected data will be summarised in a report, indicating priorities and needed actions, to be published in the spring of 2016. The CTI will present the findings to Government, stakeholders and key opinion makers in order to shape the political agenda on education and skills (view CTI three-year strategic plan).

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.

“This survey represents a great opportunity for the timber industries to express their views about skills needs”, said Dirk Vennix, CTI chief executive. “Improving Skills and Education is a key target of CTI three-year strategic plan and, along with our members, we intend to encourage young people to go for a career in the timber sector. Depending on the outcomes of the survey this could include 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.”

“In a changing and demanding world, this is a great time for employers to really get involved with skills and careers development for the future”, said Jonathan Ledger, CEO Proskills UK. “Working in partnership with CTI, Proskills is able to use its extensive skills and research experience to inform the emerging strategy that will support sustainability and future growth individuals and businesses within the timber industry and its supply chain”.

The survey is accessible online here or through a printable version which can be dowloaded from the CTI website.

The deadline for submissions is 5th February 2016.