Upskill your staff and build customer confidence – Wood Solutions Campus – a free online training platform
Wood Solutions Campus provides timber industry employers and staff with the opportunity to access an integrated online training program designed to develop their sales skills – and customer satisfaction - by increasing their knowledge of the characteristics, properties and performance of timber and timber products.
Research by the industry services company, Forest and Wood Products Ltd (FWPA), has shown that two of the major concerns about using wood and wood products in the built environment are durability and maintenance. These factors are often brought into play by the specification and use of products that are not fitfor-purpose, or poor material handling practices. The results are unhappy customers and a poor reflection on the timber industry and the use of wood. While there’s no simple ‘silver bullet’ solution, a large part of the answer lies in equipping people in the supply chain with the knowledge they need to ensure that the products they supply are suitable for the intended application and that their performance will meet or exceed customer expectations. Another factor driving the need for more knowledgeable sales people is the increased use of timber systems in mid-rise residential construction, ranging from traditional stick framing to new mass engineered timber systems (including cross laminated timber (CLT), laminated veneer lumber (LVL) and glue laminated timber (glulam). While some large timber suppliers have in-house training, until now there has not been a single source providing a comprehensive education program, covering everything from the properties of timber, the range of products produced, appropriate handling, finishes and even the basic requirements of building regulations and standards. WoodSolutions Campus, a collaboration between FWPA and the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood (CSAW), has been created to meet this need by providing topic-based education and skills development opportunities to Australia’s timber and wood products supply chain.
“Increased interest in sustainable design with wood complemented by changes to the National Construction Code has strengthened demand for improved timber product knowledge,” said the University of Tasmania’s Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood (CSAW) Director, Associate Professor Gregory Nolan. “The course modules were developed following consultation with industry about the most appropriate topics and depth of knowledge of each that are required in everyday working situations,” Professor Nolan explained, “they are designed so that users can select individual modules that are relevant to them, or work through the whole course.” “They are also ideal as part of a formal induction process for new employees, or as a refresher program for existing staff and to date more than 350 people have registered to access the currently available courses.” Delivered online through the global-leading Moodle platform, WoodSolutions Campus provides employers and participants with a record of modules studied and assessment results. This gives employers the option of assessing the progress and results of their employees as they move through the course modules.
WoodSolutions Campus is free-of-charge, self-paced and comprises stand-alone modules, each including video lectures and assessment tasks. The timber merchant modules include:
Introduction to Building Regulations and Standards
Timber Product Standards
Building Regulations Design for Durability Design for Bushfire Managing Timber’s Moisture Content
Timber and Wood Products
Timber and Wood Properties
Timber’s Environmental Characteristics
Selecting Fit-forpurpose Timber for Applications
Timber Grades and Grading
“This is a great opportunity for the timber supply chain,” said Eileen Newbury, FWPA’s National Marketing and Communications Manager, “and it’s something that FWPA, as the industry services company, can provide to the benefit of not only our immediate stakeholders, but the wider industry base.” “Through other WoodSolutions activities, including technical design guides and other publications, the website and seminars, we’re working hard with building specifiers to explain the new opportunities for timber, especially in mid-rise residential projects. Increasing the knowledge and skills of people in the supply chain will ensure that they are well-placed to answer enquiries from the design and construction sectors and maximise sales opportunities.” Ms Newbury continued to say that new modules were being added to WoodSolutions Campus that provided extended knowledge for people in the supply chain, while also being suitable for tertiary students and professionals, such as architects, building designers and engineers, who were involved in the specification of wood and wood products. “Eventually we see WoodSolutions Campus as becoming a resource for timber merchants, designers and other specifiers, builders, tradespeople and even owner-builders and enthusiastic DIY’ers,” Ms Newbury said. For more information, please visit the WoodSolutions Campus - www. campus.woodsolutions.com.au.