The organisation runs MakeIT! schemes for a range of industries. They comprise liaison with schools and provision of curriculum material for teachers and pupils as the foundation for four- to six-week courses on the specific industry and its products.

At the end of the course, the students’ work is independently assessed, and those who achieve the best results are entered into an annual competition, while all participants can obtain certificates.

Businesses are encouraged to participate by twinning with local schools, providing extra materials and organising site visits for pupils taking the MakeIT! course. Proskills’ Ami Lewis acknowledged that MakeIt! Wood is only in its second year, but said that the timber industry were lagging behind other industries it works with in terms of participation.

“Unfortunately, last year we did not manage to twin any timber companiies with schools, and we have had no interest so far this year either,” she said.

“MakeIt! Wood can create a great rapport between businesses and schools and, ultimately, is designed to highlight to pupils that timber is an interesting, valuable material and that the industry is one they should consider working in when they leave school.”

She added that interest in MakeIT! Wood is set to increase among schools and pupil participation is rising. “In 2011 the programme was taken up by 17 schools and a total of 393 pupils took the course,” she said.

“We’re only at the start of the 2012 academic year, but we already have 17 schools and 480 students.” Proskills wood and timber industry lead Lisa Williamson said that MakeIT! Wood “held real importance for the UK industry”.

“Like any other sector it needs to attract new blood if it is to build for the future,” she said.

“While the timber industry is a long-established part of the UK commercial landscape and demand remains strong, companies still need to improve efficiency continually if they are to remain competitive.

Attracting new recruits and ensuring they have relevant skills and technical knowledge are key parts of achieving this goal.”