The Confederation of Timber Industry (CTI) and Proskills have launched an employer skill survey into the UK's timber industry supply chain.

The research aims to identify the current level of skills shortages and gaps in education provision within the whole timber industry Supply Chain, from forestry to builders' merchants and manufacturers. It will be distributed to businesses and other interested parties through trade associations, research institutes and training providers operating in the UK.

Through the survey, CTI and Proskills aims to map current education providers delivering to the sector, highlighting gaps between supply and demand. Similarly, the research will identify areas of strength and excellence offering a catalyst for the engagement of the industry in improving skills, recruitment and training.

The collected data will be summarised in a report, indicating priorities and needed actions, to be published in the spring of 2016. The CTI will present the findings to government, stakeholders and key opinion makers in order to shape the political agenda on education and skills.

Succession planning for an ageing workforce and gaps in provision are issues which need to be addressed. Few young people decide to choose timber as a career option, as repeatedly outlined by trade organisations, training providers and companies. This issue is exacerbated by the limited offer of further education courses, apprenticeships and craft qualifications that affects the growth of the whole sector.

"This survey represents a great opportunity for the timber industries to express their views about skills needs," said Dirk Vennix, CTI chief executive. "Improving skills and education is a key target of CTI's three-year strategic plan and, along with our members, we intend to encourage young people to go for a career in the timber sector. Depending on the outcomes of the survey this could include supporting the launch of new timber related courses as well as helping increase the number of apprenticeships and developing an ambassadorial schools network across the supply chain."

The survey is accessible online here or through a printable version, downloadable here.

The deadline for submissions is 5 February 2016.