The Woodworking Industry Training Forum (WITForum) is kicking off a new series of management courses with one designed to help firms cope with the impact of the credit crunch.

‘Managing through the Downturn’ is the first of the WITForum’s new training courses. Run by instructors from the National Construction College, it will cover topics such as revitalising a business plan, improving productivity and management strategies.

Dave Campbell, manager of the WITForum, set up by the British Woodworking Federation, said training was still top of the agenda. “Never has it been more important, with the current recession potentially creating a new skills gap within the workforce,” said Mr Campbell.

He said employers needed to act now to make sure their employees were equipped with the skills to deal with any situation. “Our upcoming course on how to manage your business through the downturn will provide the perfect opportunity to do this, while learning how to help your business survive the economic downturn,” he added.

Mr Campbell said he had ambitious plans for the WITForum in 2009. “Although training forms a significant part of these plans, I will be working hard to increase membership and the level of involvement of BWF members,” he said.

“We need to come together to change the attitudes of training within the woodworking industry, and I am looking forward to tackling this in the coming year,” he added.

Meanwhile, with National Apprenticeship Week next week, Mr Campbell has called on the joinery industry to get involved – and find out more about the benefits that apprenticeships can bring to their own firms.

“Many school leavers are simply not aware of the opportunities that exist through apprenticeship schemes, but they can open doors to successful and rewarding careers in joinery,” said Mr Campbell.

For more details or to book a place on Managing through the Downturn (March 9-11 in Coventry), visit