Let’s celebrate an achievement. We may be a fragmented industry at times, but we’ve put our heads together to create some top-class industry qualifications with Proskills.

The first qualifications serve timber merchants and sawmillers, and an apprenticeship framework is on the way. Proskills has said this is an “aspiration” but industry demands it, therefore it must happen, especially if employers shout about it. This concept of industry demand is crucial. It’s easy for business to gaze blankly as government or sector skills councils blind us with bureaucracy. It can be disheartening, but good things happen when the industry’s voice is heard, and when we collectively engage in the debate.

The BWF does just that. Over the past six years we’ve worked tirelessly with ConstructionSkills to make training suitable for the joinery industry. And with qualifications at the heart of our work, we’ve launched our funded On-Site Assessment and Training programme to get the workforce NVQ qualified (see bwf.org.uk/training for full details).

We have been just as vocal about Proskills. The BWF’s letter to the chancellor called for the reinstatement of support for Proskills after its failure to secure funds from UKCES. Others have also lobbied, and as a sector we all need to bombard the business secretary with a clear call to action: “Save Proskills”.

Proskills is set to develop wood manufacturing qualifications, and beyond that even more wood-related development. To achieve a trained and qualified workforce, each timber industry segment must support each other. With an absence of funding for Proskills, it’s never been more important to make our voice heard.

As an industry, we’re vying for a smaller pot of money than ever before. Employers, with the support of their trade bodies, need to keep pressure on for more qualification development, apprenticeship frameworks and greater recognition of our sector. BWF members do this through the Woodworking Industry Training Forum (WITForum), and our members on the Proskills board. Our sector is mainly SMEs and if we don’t shout it together from the roof tops, we’ll be left out in the cold timber yard.

• TTJ Industry Updates are a forum for trade bodies to address key issues.