26 September 2018

Who teaches the teachers?

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Marking the beginning of a 5-year education plan for the East Anglia Timber Trade Association (EATTA), three key university lecturers from the Eastern region travelled to Sweden to update their knowledge of today’s timber production on 13-15 September 2018.

 

The visit was arranged by EATTA as part of its new ‘Who teaches the teachers?’ programme and hosted by the Industrial Solutions operations of Timber Trade Federation member SCA Wood. The lecturers were invited and accompanied by TRADA’s University Engagement Manager Tabitha Binding.

 

The three-day trip involved visits to: SCA’s tree nursery where 100 million tree seedlings are produced each year; SCA’s sustainable forests, of which SCA owns 2.6 million hectares in northern Sweden; and Tunadal Sawmill - one of 5 sawmills owned by SCA in Sweden.

 

Stephen King, Sales Director of SCA Wood Industrial Solutions, comments: “We were delighted to be asked to host this visit by the EATTA. SCA has always been dedicated to sharing our wealth of timber knowledge with our customers, but the education we provide shouldn’t stop there. We are firmly rooting our commitment to the timber industry to help engage those responsible for inspiring the engineers and architects of tomorrow. Seeing our operations first-hand will hopefully provide lecturers with the experiential knowledge they need to impart enthusiasm for wood use in construction to the next generation.”

 

The lecturers came from both architectural and engineering disciplines, from the University of Hertfordshire, Anglia Ruskin University and the University of Suffolk. “The aim is for each lecturer to enliven students’ and colleagues’ interest in the timber business and in timber as a sustainable building material,” says EATTA Chairman Chris James of Nason Davis.

 

“Through such visits we can get our industry’s message across directly to the specifiers and architects of the future. These three lecturers alone enable us to reach over 300 students, broadening their knowledge and increasing enthusiasm for wood amongst those teaching engineering and architecture. Over five years we could potentially see 1500 new specifiers favouring timber and wood products as a result of this initiative,” Chris James adds.

 

Tabitha Binding, University Engagement Manager from TRADA, was impressed by SCA’s passion for producing quality wood fibre: “The ‘proof of concept’ visit under the new EATTA ‘Who teaches the teachers?’ programme was a great success in demonstrating to our first cohort of lecturers that from seed to final timber product, each step is considered environmentally, socially and financially. The enthusiasm, openness and pride in their products was evident in all of SCA’s staff across the nursery, harvesting, sawmilling and planing line facilities visited. Stephen King, our host throughout the visit, together with all of his colleagues in Sweden, answered all questions, from the basic to the complicated, increasing understanding and creating enthusiasm to teach students about timber in a different way to that previously taken. Architectural and engineering students and lecturers across the Universities of Anglia Ruskin, Suffolk and Hertfordshire will undoubtedly benefit from this first-hand knowledge which is backed up by TRADA’s extensive online learning resources.” She adds: “I applaud EATTA for taking this new approach to knowledge dissemination and Chris James for his tenacity in making it happen.”

 

EATTA plans to repeat the process for the next five years until all the lecturers in the Eastern region have either visited or heard from colleagues about the operations, sustainability and commercial functioning of the East Anglian timber trade.

 

If you are a lecturer in the region and would like to discuss the opportunity to join next year’s trip, contact Tabitha Binding at tbinding@trada.co.uk.

 

Lecturers involved:

  • Andrew Moss, Lecturer in Engineering, University of Suffolk
  • Reuben Brambleby, Senior Lecturer Engineering, Anglia Ruskin University
  • Ilona Hay, Senior Lecturer Architecture, University of Hertfordshire
  • Tabitha Binding, University Engagement Manager, TRADA
  • Stephen King, Sales Director, Industrial Solutions, SCA Wood UK
  • Chris James, EATTA Chairman, Nason Davis