Photo: Artist’s impression of the new CATT building at NMITE
In 2008 the TRA formed its relationship with Edinburgh Napier University (ENU) to deliver training for design engineers and since 2014 the online course has seen more than 150 young people take part.
Richard George is chair of the TRA training and apprentice committee and a member of the timber engineering steering committee at ENU, advising on what the industry needs out of its new recruits. He says it’s all about getting young people into timber engineering: “It’s an exciting time to join our industry and we want to make sure that our people are trained to the very highest standards.
The training course is aimed at designers but covers all aspects of the trussed rafter business such as commercial, operations (manufacturing) and site safety.
“The TRA scheme is now expanding to include a new mentorship programme to enable experienced staff within member companies to understand the course and how to assist apprentices. Trainees will then be able to undertake the online course alongside completing interactive workbooks supported by their mentors. Mentors will be able to sign off lower levels of training, however higher levels will be signed off by designated senior TRA members.”
Richard adds: ”Napier has a long history of developing timber engineering knowledge and it’s exciting to be part of the steering committee for the new Timber Technology Engineering and Design (Timber TED) Pathway. The pathway focuses on offsite construction enabling our industry to build better, faster and greener.”
The TRA is also collaborating with New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE), a new higher education institution in Hereford. The relationship has been formed to feed in knowledge and to promote timber engineering as a great career path.
ENU’s Professor Robert Hairstans has been seconded to NMITE as founding director of its Centre for Advanced Timber Technology (CATT): “We’ve secured the funding from the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City and Regional Deal – Housing Construction and Infrastructure (HCI) Skills Gateways, with additional funding also secured via Ufi VocTech Trust. This will help us to develop a competency framework with input from a steering committee that includes key industry organisations including the TRA, TRADA, Timber Development UK, Swedish Wood and the Structural Timber Association. We’ll create a programme for timber engineers using existing content and introduce new content to upskill and reskill the built environment practitioners of the future. The TRA will provide in-kind support to the competency framework and we will train the timber engineers who may well work for TRA members in the future.”
Robert concludes: “We’ve set up a framework of partnerships in the industry and with external academic institutions to address the needs of the industry.”
When the new NMITE learning facility is completed in 2022, students will be able to access content from cloud-based learning then take part in challenge-based group activities at CATT’s state-of-the-art facilities.
Richard says it’s important that all courses, whether in-house or at colleges and universities, are relevant and prepare people for the future of our industry. The steering group at ENU is asking for industry feedback on the value of the course.
Typical issues already identified include gaps in understanding different build systems, on-site assembly and other areas where many people lack experience.
To request a questionnaire and give your own views on training needs for the future, click here.