Teaching old dogs new tricks wasn’t really on the agenda for business in the past. Jobs were often for life and might not change much from start to finish. Training at the outset could set you up for the duration.

These days that’s no longer the case. Through choice and necessity, changing jobs or careers throughout a working life is becoming the norm. The jobs themselves also change and develop more rapidly as business adapts to an increasingly globalised market place. So, love them or loathe them, the buzzwords today are lifelong learning and continuing professional development.

All of which explains why this year TTJ is restyling its Trainee of the Year Award as the Career Development Award. Launched two years ago, the Trainee Award has proved a hit and with no-one more than the trainees themselves. Last year’s winner, Jamie Snape of Jewson, described it as a “great entry” for his CV. “Winning has given me a lot of recognition and makes you feel all that hard work has not gone in vain,” he said.

The reaction of other entrants and their employees is equally positive. The feeling is that the initiative not only recognises the efforts of individuals in this business, but also the continuing progress the industry is making in improving the depth and breadth of its training.

The only deficiency with the Award, we and sponsor SCA Timber Supply agreed, was that it didn’t allow us to recognise those employees who have been in the trade a while, but continue to work on their skills and knowledge with ongoing training. The Career Development Award changes that. It will have a category for trainees and for older employees who have taken further courses or qualifications. A shortlist from each will be invited to the Awards ceremony on September 15 and the ultimate winner will be the entry judged to have achieved the most, both individually and for their company.

So trainees, and fellow old dogs, get ready to send in your entries.