“Something has to be done about training.” I hear this more and more from BWF members, and little wonder. After all, there can be few other industries which have been so neglected, so sidelined and so ignored when it comes to training provision.

More and more joinery companies are giving up on college training in desperation, because it is either not available locally – one company sends its apprentices from Berwick to Leeds – or what is available is simply not relevant to their business.

Employers consider the main qualification to be irrelevant because it doesn’t equip a worker with the skills and knowledge they need, and with wood trades forecast to be the most needed construction-related occupation to be recruited annually across the country over the next five years, there’s a dire need for more skilled bench joiners and wood machinists.

Ours is an industry crying out for more relevant training provision and it’s time something was done about it. Our members certainly think so and they’re looking to the BWF to take up the cause on their behalf.

In forming the Woodworking Industry Training Forum, we’re rising to that challenge and expectation.

Its objective is to enable the joinery industry to take back control of its own training by articulating its needs and improving the quality and spread of training provision throughout the UK. It is a membership body, open to all joinery and woodworking companies, BWF members or not, and backed by CITB-ConstructionSkills.

Too little too late? I don’t think so – but the WIT Forum must get its teeth into the problems sharpish. There are no quick fixes, but in two or three years’ time, the industry should start to see more training provision and a more relevant, focused culture.

Joinery employers need skilled labour. Joinery employees have a right to good, relevant training, close to home. If you believe that too, stand up and be counted as a member of the WIT Forum in the interests of both your business and our industry’s future.