The Timber Trade Federation’s (TTF) online Academy has seen an 80% rise in course sign-ups since Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were introduced.

“We’ve had a mix of furloughed and non-furloughed staff signing up for a variety of courses,” said Karen Sussex, TTF head of operations. “Learning with the TTF Academy is in the form of ‘bite-sized’ courses, covering wood knowledge, business skills – from equality and diversity to computer skills – and even Wood Campus RIBA-accredited CPD modules.”

Around 90% of the training on the TTF Academy is free to TTF and Trussed Rafter Association (TRA) members, with the exception of some certificated courses. The Wood Campus Award in Timber Merchanting is offered at a nominal fee.

The TTF’s Essential Foundations of Sales Management course is also a paid-for course. Its first three cohorts of delegates are now accumulating an excellent track record of success for their companies. Two cohorts have already completed the Foundation and gained their resulting Institute of Sales Management professional memberships.

Which TTF Academy courses are proving the most popular at the moment?

“A lot of trainees have chosen the RIBA-accredited short courses including the fire safety module,” said Ms Sussex. “Interestingly there has also been high demand for business management courses, from our introduction to GDPR to courses on handling customers, assertiveness and improving telephone skills.”

Most of the up-take has been from individual staff members, taking the opportunity for up-skilling to benefit their future careers.

The TTF Academy website underwent a re-design this spring, bringing it within the TTF’s own website and updating the content. It can be accessed via: TTF and TRA members are asked to sign in and there is an approvals process.

“Ease of access to the courses is essential,” said Ms Sussex. “Furloughed employees are allowed to undertake training. We can also facilitate monitoring by their managers, which will be a great help when trading returns after lockdown.”

If furloughed employees wish to take a paid-for course, the manager can also authorise payment through the TTF Academy site.

The TTF has been working closely with Wood Campus to make many courses available to TTF and TRA members. 

“Wood Campus is a close partner of the TTF on all matters related to training,” said Ms Sussex. “With the business climate so uncertain it makes sense for companies to maximise the opportunity to enhance staff capabilities, so they are ready to capitalise on the anticipated bounce-back of the economy later this year.

“We are still adding courses to the TTF Academy,” she added. “One of our newest courses covers all aspects of Nordic sawmilling, so that those selling timber can understand more about its production, including grading.

“TTF and TRA members are welcome to email me at to register for the Academy. If they are not able to use their work emails, they can still sign up for training. We have a system of checks in place to ensure that this membership benefit can be accessed by all TTF and TRA members.”