It has been announced today that ProSkills UK, the body responsible for qualifications and skills standards in the manufacturing industry is to close at the end of June.
ProSkills has been working with the joinery and wider timber sector for a number of years and has facilitated the introduction of new qualifications in Wood Product Manufacturing (which serves the joinery industry), as well as the timber supply chain, giving career pathways through qualifications within some parts of the sector for the first time. It has also run exciting career promotional activities including Wood MakeIT! which targets schools, and set up its own awarding body, Occupational Awards Ltd, for qualifications which has supported the new qualifications that have been produced.
In the wake of cuts to Sector Skills Councils and Standard Setting Bodies, of which ProSkills has been both alliterations, the organisation has faced challenges to juggle income with activity. In the wake of the decision of its trustee board to close the charity, provisions have been put in place to ensure that the work undertaken by ProSkills for the sector continues, including a role for the BWF and the Confederation of Timber Industries (CTI) of which BWF is now a member.
Dave Campbell, BWF Membership and Training Director, and Vice Chair of the ProSkills Wood Industry Board, said:
“While we are disappointed that ProSkills will close, it is an opportunity for the sector to seize its skills agenda as the government consistently moves towards direct employer involvement with qualification development. Effectively much of the work of Proskills now falls back on the BWF and colleagues across the sector, but we are ready to step up.
As a trade body, we have that day-to-day dialogue with companies on their skills issues, and we look forward to picking up the baton from ProSkills to ensure our industry’s needs are met.
Through our CTI membership, and the BWF’s lead role within in it to develop skills for the whole timber supply chain, we can really start to tackle government on the needs to make our sector thrive with an active and strong Wood Industry Board.
BWF’s ownership of Wood & Furniture MakeIT! programmes, which the BWF’s Woodworking Industry Training Board (WITForum), voted in February to get fully behind as our main campaign or schools engagement, means we can continue this promotion which is helping to bring awareness and excitement about working in the timber industry.
ProSkills leave us a strong legacy, and I’m sure I speak for the whole of the timber supply chain when I say, we intend to build on their sterling work, and make the timber sector a highly skilled, innovative and exciting place to work”.
BWF will take ownership of the Wood and Furniture MakeIT! programmes, which provides lesson plans and promotes careers within the sector, which is engaging 2,500 students over 61 schools. CTI will become secretariat of the Wood Industry Board, to ensure the strategic direction of skills for the sector continues to have a pan-industry home. The Awarding Body, for which there are a number of companies undertaking qualifications through which they are awarding, will be sold to an external buyer to be announced, but the expectation is continuity for the Wood focussed qualifications.