Sharon Gorf, Director at Parker & Highland Joinery, has been appointed the new chair of the Woodworking Industry Training Forum (WITForum), following the training group's AGM on 28th June in Lincolnshire. Sharon leads the Forum as it launches a number of new initiatives and grows its programmes to qualify the workforce, raise skills within industry, and bring new people into woodworking and joinery.
The Woodworking Industry Training Forum (WITForum) is a BWF initiative to tackle the training crisis facing our industry. Set up in 2006, it was chaired by Pauline Kelly until Sharon was elected in June to succeed her.
Commenting after her election, Sharon said, "I am passionate about our industry and the opportunities it can provide for existing employees and for young people starting their career. When things get tough in the economy, you can either choose to focus on the problems, or to seek out the solutions. I believe training can provide that solution and ensure that our industry’s workforce is as knowledgeable and competitive as it can possibly be. The WITForum will help us fulfill that goal".
Sharon also thanked the previous Chair for her work to date, "Thanks must go to Pauline Kelly who has led the Forum since the beginning, who has put a considerable amount of time and effort to move the industry forward on training. We have come a long way since 2006 and I hope that I can continue on the good work."
Following the election at the AGM, the Board gave the go ahead for the Forum's latest endeavor, to launch a woodworking industry CPD programme in August, a first for the industry. It will be a simple scheme to recognise continuing development of skills, promoting a culture of higher standards and professionalism as the industry norm.
The CPD programme will be structured to allow everyone within the industry to participate, from the apprentice right up to the MD, and including all professions found within a woodworking business, allowing individuals to gain recognition for their continued self-development.
Details of the scheme will be available early August and BWF members will be the first to be invited to participate. Dave Campbell, who manages the WITForum said, "We need to embed a culture of continuous learning in our businesses and our staff, which will lead to a more competitive UK joinery sector and a raising of standards within the industry. Launching next month, we have made the scheme as straightforward as possible so that it is easy to clock up your CPD hours while still maintaining a standard that will ensure individuals are planning their development and achieving real results for them and the business".
The Forum launched a scheme at the start of 2012 that aimed to qualify the existing workforce and attract new talent into the industry. Thanks to funding from CITB-ConstructionSkills, the Forum will be able to continue and grow this project, so that members may access quality training services through the OSAT Scheme, which qualifies individuals in a range of disciplines with access to considerable funding. Furthermore, the Forum will expand its career promotion activities, the beginning of which will launch in late August.
For more information on the work of the WITForum, visit the training area of the website.