The hunt for the winner of the 2006 TTJ Career Development Award is on.

The entry form for the award, which is sponsored by SCA Timber Supply Ltd, is included in this week’s issue of TTJ, and is available online at www.ttjonlinecom. People from across the industry are invited to enter and the Award is open to timber industry employees of all ages and at all stages of their career.

Formerly known as the TTJ Trainee of the Year Award, the name was changed last year to encourage entries from not only those new to the industry but also from those who may have been involved for a while, but are developing their skills through continuous professional development.

Some of last year’s entrants told TTJ what entering the awards meant to them and what it has done for their career.

The overall winner was Paul Dennis of MDM Timber. “I had finished the Insitutue of Wood Science Foundation and Certificate course and thought it would be a good idea to apply for the award,” he said. “I could not believe it when my name was called out. Not only was it recognition for all the hard work I had put in, I was also pleased that MDM got recognition for the investment and time they had given me.”

His company sales director Peter Holmes said Mr Dennis had had grown in confidence since winning the TTJ award. “We are a fairly small company and sometimes the tendency is to have our heads down doing our jobs without paying attention to the next generation coming along. This has been a bit of an eye-opener and we will encourage others to follow in Paul’s footsteps.”

Peter Kelly, training and quality assurance manager at Howarth (Timber Importers) Ltd, was a runner-up in the continuing development category last year. “As a mature entrant, it was a compliment to my career to be in the final, and endorsed the fact that the industry took note of my continuing professional development,” he said.

Mr Kelly, an associate member of the Institute of Wood Science and also a member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, said he would definitely encourage other people to enter for the award.

“You cannot afford to stand still if you want to keep up with business and changing regulations. If the timber industry can adopt that it will be better recognised in the wider industry,” he said.

Roy Brewster, a sales executive with Crown Timber, was also a runner-up in the continuing development category. “Entering for the award gives you an incentive to carry on with the training side of things,” he said. “There is a definite plus to it, and it is recognised that you are not just doing something for youself and a piece of paper – people in the industry are genuinely interested.”

Mr Brewster, who is currently doing the IWSc certificate course, said he would definitely encourage others to enter. “If they are proud of what they have done, then they should get in there and get some exposure.

There is a lot of expertise in the industry, but unfortunately it is ageing. Richard McCarvell, a panel products buyer at Finnforest UK Ltd, was shortlisted for the Career Development Award. “Nomination provided a great confidence boost and recognition for my efforts from both my company and the trade panel judging the award,” he said. “The opportunity to learn of fellow nominees’ efforts in development and the chance to meet others involved in the timber trade all contributed to a thoroughly enjoyable social occasion.”

Cymon Yardley is a sales representative at James Latham Dudley. “I had been enjoying the role for just a few months when we saw details in TTJ,” she said.

Ms Yardley, encouraged by her manager, filled in an entry form, detailing how her role had changed since her new appointment, what she had learned and how she had benefited from her new position.

She did not win, but said: “I met lots of influential people at The Savoy and got to sit at the top table with William Hague. It was a great experience and

I enjoyed every minute – and I would recommend anyone to give it a go.”