Committing to development

10 December 2012

The joinery industry’s first CPD scheme has got off to a strong start, reports the BWF’s WITForum manager, Dave Campbell

Within the first few months of the launch of the BWF's Woodworking Industry Training Forum (WITForum) Continuing Professional Development scheme, we've received significant backing from the most progressive firms in UK joinery manufacturing.

Thirteen organisations, including 11 joinery companies, have shown their support already by signing up to the scheme. Representatives from the companies signed their names in a public display of commitment at the W12 exhibition in October, and have pledged to encourage all their staff to join the scheme.

For a long time other industries have benefited from CPD programmes. The BWF's CPD programme is a first for the woodworking and joinery industry and is essential for the future development and professionalism of our sector. Improving training and up-skilling our people is vital to every business that wants to compete and thrive in today's market.

The CPD programme offers all those working within the joinery and woodworking industry the opportunity to develop new skills and to gain recognition for training and personal development. It is suitable for all job roles in any joinery business, from apprentice to managing director.

To work your way up through the levels in the CPD scheme, you will need to log 30 hours of learning each 12-month period (between August 1-July 31). We have six categories which you can log hours against, and much of this you will probably already be doing, making reaching your 30 hours target easier than you might think.

Indeed, the CPD programme recognises that not everything revolves around attending a training course. It also includes the softer development opportunities that arise from attending seminars, participating in industry meetings and networking with colleagues in the industry. This provides a company and its employees with the opportunity to be recognised for the training and development that they commit to and undertake in the normal course of their business.

The six categories eligible for CPD hours are:

  • Qualifications: This includes all qualifications such as S/NVQs of level 2 and above, delivered by a government recognised educational institution. It also includes many professionally recognised qualifications awarded by professional institutes or recognised trade bodies.
  • Short courses and workshops: You can gain CPD for courses aimed at developing or refreshing joinery or business/role knowledge, delivered by external training providers. These may not necessarily lead to a qualification. Workshops that aim to share best practice with other professionals in your field of work also count towards CPD.
  • In-company development and mentoring: This includes training undertaken as part of planned, in-house training programmes, any project work that helps develop the business, any promotion you receive or mentoring of subordinate workers to develop, engage in training, and undertake their own CPD.
  • Private study and personal up-skilling: Any time you spend learning new skills and improving industry or job role knowledge would be eligible for CPD.
  • Joinery industry development: This includes any time you spend contributing to the development of the joinery industry as a whole through the BWF and its schemes, as well as any time contributing to external industry initiatives or contributing directly to industry research and development.
  • Exhibitions and conferences: CPD hours can also be logged if you attend large-scale events that provide industry or job-related knowledge.

To keep it flexible and relevant to all staff, while maintaining a credible programme, we've allowed individuals to log up to 30 hours in the qualifications, short courses and workshops, and in-company development and mentoring categories. A limit of 15 hours in each category is applicable to private study and personal up-skilling, joinery industry development, and exhibitions and conferences.

CPD is critical to boosting the professionalism and economic success of our industry.

It's good news for individual employees, including those in non-craft occupations in the industry, because it provides formal recognition for everything they achieve in terms of professional development throughout their career. Being provided with a formal recognition of development, backed up by the Construction CPD Accreditation Service, will boost staff morale and improve productivity.

It's also critical for employers, helping to support and build a stronger workforce of skilled employees in all occupations across the company, and a framework for the development of companies. The programme links to any existing training and development plan in the company, so it will help the business to grow. CITB-ConstructionSkills registered employers can also claim funding to support eligible areas of training.

The 11 companies that have signed up to the scheme so far are Howarth Windows & Doors, Westgate Joinery, Oakwrights, Parker & Highland Joinery, Arnold Laver Timberworld, Elmwood Joinery, the Performance Window Group, Tompkins Wood, EA Higginson & Co Ltd, Specialist Joinery (South) Ltd and Vicaima.

The BWF's training provider, Didac Ltd, and joinery consultancy firm Lignum Associates have also pledged to support the programme and promote it to the woodworking industry. The two sector skills bodies for the woodworking sector, CITB-ConstructionSkills and Proskills, have also endorsed the scheme.

The Performance Window Group is one of the early signatories Photo credit: DALE WINDOWS
Dave Campbell: the CPD is suitable for all job roles