Posted on 15 June 2021

The Faculty of Construction Crafts at Leeds College of Building recently held its first-ever Institute of Carpenters (IOC) City Hub Event. The virtual session exposed students to the varied career opportunities available to qualified carpenters and joiners.

Using Microsoft Teams, the College’s Level 2 Bench Joinery & Shopfitting group met industry innovators and heard from employers about the latest techniques and materials. Speakers included representatives from the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB), Historic England, Structural Timber Association (STA), MEDITE SMARTPLY, IOC, Trussed Rafter Association, and Timber Trade Federation (TTF).

The event kicked off with a welcome by Derek Whitehead, Leeds College of Building Principal, and an introduction by Geoff Rhodes, IOC President. This was followed by a range of 20-minute seminars from other carpentry and manufacturing experts.

Programme topics covered: national career opportunities in the construction-related sector; specialist handcraft-skills; working as a builder in the heritage sector; the Housing and roofing sector and innovative new materials; ground-breaking MDF and OSB panel products; sustainability, renewables and certification; and TTF statistics covering the scale of the global timber industry.

“For two years now, we have been developing and rolling out our national programme of IOC City Hub meetings with FE colleges across the UK in order to add meaningful value to the learning experience of all student learners. The partnership with Leeds College of Building is another great example of seeing this reality in action.”

Geoff Rhodes, IOC President

This virtual event is just one of the latest IOC enhancements to the student experience at Leeds College of Building. Through the partnership, Carpentry and Joinery students now have free membership to the IOC. The affiliation lasts for the duration of their studies and for a year after graduation. The IOC showcases the industry as a modern and exciting route into trades. It supports innovative new construction methods, including research into waterproof timber structure at a molecular level.

"Our students greatly benefitted from the collective knowledge shared by all the industry experts who contributed. The students gave very positive feedback about the training session, as did the presenters who benefitted from networking themselves."

Derek Whitehead, Leeds College of Building Principal