European Woodworking sector has to become more attractive

The 2nd Seminar of the Joint European Confederation of Woodworking Industries (CEI-Bois), EuropeanFederation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) and European Wood-based Panels Federation (EPF) European-funded project “Perspectives and challenges of the Woodworking Industries in Europe” took place on the 30th of November 2018 in Lisbon.

It was preceded, on the 29 of November 2018, by a training workshop and the official signature of the voluntary agreement between EPF and EFBWW on the European Action Guide on Formaldehyde. It sets a new level of safety in the workplace, estimated to be introduced up to five years ahead of any possible legislative requirement.

The Seminar was organised around the theme of the European Woodworking Sector attractiveness and provided a good insight on the strengths and challenges the sector’s image is facing today, as well as some concrete examples of the best practices and solutions that have been tested and/or implemented in Croatia, Portugal, Sweden, United Kingdom and Belgium.

A panel session took place in the afternoon, which allowed a productive exchange of views between the participants and some of the speakers.

The Woodworking Industry’s image needs to be dusted off. It sometimes carries a certain negative connotation, linked to an old-fashioned representation. Most people are not aware of its modernity, importance and real economic and social impact. This wrong perception, also contributes to the difficulty of attracting new human resources to the sector.

Even though the picture is colourful in Europe and we have good examples in general we need the efforts of all stakeholders to update and assure a better transition from schools to companies, keep-up with the future technological developments and further improve the training of the current and future generations.

The Woodworking Industry needs to make efforts to appeal to the next generations by using the appropriate tools. Within this context,social media play a crucial role in promoting the sector’s strengths and attractiveness. The use of images has a key role in the promotion process: wood isn’t only a natural material but is also beautiful, esthetical, sustainable, modern and inspiring for innovative solutions.

The Seminar allowed a thought-provoking brainstorming and best-practices exchange. It is now time for the Social Partners to put in practice the recommendations and keep improving the communication on sector attractiveness.

The Perspectives and Challenges of the Woodworking Industries in Europe project continues and will end with a final conference that will be organised in the first half of 2019 in Brussels.

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