Scholars and Skills Builders

20 September 2017

Never before has training, knowledge and skills building been more critical for the future of the timber industry, says Glennon Brothers joint managing director Mike Glennon

Ireland was long known as the land of saints and scholars.

While the saints part might be questioned today, there is still an ongoing commitment to educational excellence. A cornerstone of the above average growth that our economy has experienced in the last few years has been its investment in education.

In today’s world, formal education and continual improvement are seen as a stepping-stone to achieving progression in both our working and personal lives.

We now need to raise the profile of the timber sector to attract young people with potential for growth and development and that means we have to put a greater emphasis on training, knowledge and skills building ourselves.

That’s why Glennon Brothers is delighted to continue its sponsorship of the TTJ Career Development Awards

We see these awards as being important in recognising and rewarding individual employees for their dedication and commitment to training and to the timber industry, and their achievement in qualifications.

But it’s also important in recognising their employers for investing in their people and the future competitiveness of the trade.

Timber processing has traditionally had a reputation as a low technology operation.

However, when people tour the various facilities within the sector today, they are all hugely impressed with the level of technology that is integral to our industry.

One of the reasons we bring the shortlisted candidates for both the under-25 and over-25 TTJ Career Development Awards to our facility in Fermoy, is to improve their understanding of the breadth and depth of our sector, from forest to end product.

We must realise that the fight for talent is against other industries, not just against competitors in our own sector. Irish unemployment is expected to be 5% soon, which means the pool of available talent is shrinking. In the UK, no-one is clear of Brexit’s implications for immigration, and the consequent knock-on for availability of employees.

We need to attract the best people in marketing, IT, and account management, and across many other areas if the sector is to grow.

It is essential for this industry to attract a new breed of entrepreneurial graduates, to bring their fresh new ideas and operational dynamic to add biodiversity into a perceived older/ ageing industry.

This allows companies to put a plan in place for succession of these managers and the continued growth of the industry as a whole.

Especially in these times of economic uncertainty and instability, it is important to find the right blend of experience along with innovation and creativity to develop new perspectives to approach issues and problems that are undoubtedly upon us.

We also need to ensure that there is a formal development path within the organisation, to invest in existing staff to build their knowledge and skills and to help retain them long term.

We look forward to recognising the achievement of the TTJ Awards winners, and wish all those who entered the Under-25 and Over-25 categories all the best in their future careers.