It is very encouraging to see the positive steps that are being taken to rebuild the training infrastructure in the timber trade with the formation of the UK Wood Chain Group and the TTF Education, Training and Careers Committee, both of which have gone a long way to heighten the profile of education and training in the industry. Added to that, entries to the TTJ Trainee of the Year Award have further shown the industry’s commitment to investing in people by encouraging staff to participate in skills and knowledge training programmes as part of their career development.

The hunt for this year’s winner starts now, with the entry form enclosed with this edition (it will also appear in editions in June and July). 2005 will see a change to the structure of the award. Renamed the Career Development Award it will be broken into two categories, one for trainees and another to recognise older or longer serving employees who are taking further courses or qualifications for continuous personal development (CPD).

The overall winner will be the person judged to have achieved most from their training or made a significant contribution to their organisation as a result of their participation.

This year, the short-listed candidates will be invited to attend a short informal panel interview when they will be provided with an opportunity to describe the benefits gained from training and how this has helped progress their career development.

The award has grown in prestige and continues to attract an increasing number of nominations. Entries for 2004 almost doubled from 13 to 23, with the quality making the judges’ task of selecting a winner even more difficult. It is anticipated that 2005 will see an even greater number of entries. The Award provides a real opportunity for employers to recognise the achievements of employees who have shown initiative, application and commitment by their participation in education and training programmes.

The closing date for entries is July 15.