I can well remember the TTJ of the ‘old days’ (1980s!) which often had pictures of the leaders of our industry pictured at one event or another, complete with G&T in hand. That was all well and good for ‘those and such’, but what about younger members of the trade? Today, there seem to be even fewer opportunities for them to get together outside of normal business. Sadly, meetings of organisations such as IWSc, The Saplings in London, the Scottish Panel Products Association, to name but a few, are a thing of the past, more’s the pity.

Thankfully, the TTF Area Associations still exist and each reflects variations in regional focus and they provide a vital forum for exchange of news and views, with a local, regional, national and international perspective.

In Scotland, the Scottish Timber Trade Association recently went through a lean spell, with declining membership. To cut a long story short, the nettle was grasped by its Executive Committee and a new approach, combined with a more welcoming and inclusive attitude has resulted in a significant increase in membership and we now have a very vibrant association.

STTA presidents in recent years have made a point of encouraging members to bring younger members of their staff to meetings and other events, which is to be applauded. The recent Scottish Timber Trade Dinner, held in Edinburgh, was a great success and attended by a wide range of timber traders from Scotland and beyond, and more importantly, was attended by all ages, from teenagers to a septuagenarian!

Many of those in senior positions in today’s timber trade owe much to the foresight of employers encouraging attendance at trade meetings and fostering self-improvement. In the pressured world of trading we should never forget that young people are the future of our trade and to give them the opportunity to meet with others and hopefully improve their knowledge and understanding of the trade. Like trees, people respond well to being nurtured.

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