By Alastair Woodard
The event was extremely well supported with 76 participants – 40 from industry, and 36 university lecturers travelling from all over Australia.
This is the second time the event has been delivered by WoodSolutions. The first, in November 2018, was successful and well received with attendees suggesting a similar event should be held annually.
The aim of this initiative is to bring industry and educators together to discuss facilitation and incorporation of timber content being taught across Australia to ensure the students of today are well informed about timber as the specifiers of tomorrow.
WoodSolutions saw a need to build and strengthen industry and educator contacts and networks. This allowed wood industry experts to meet face-to-face with university academics and researchers to openly discuss and share ideas and information and to inform and inspire about new innovations and future aspirations that encourage lecturers to add more timber content into their syllabi and to develop more university R&D project activity and linkages.
WoodSolutions education program manager Dr Alastair Woodard said this industry-educator collaborative initiative was a unique and valuable event strongly supported by educators and industry alike.
He added: “The industry education program has been active now for 27 years making it one of the longest continually running industry programs. A key to its longevity is its ongoing collaboration with university academics and TAFE teachers, to clearly understand their needs.”
Head of the WoodSolutions program Eileen Newbury said the education program had constantly updated its educational resources to keep them current and to meet the latest technological course delivery needs.
“The last few years of Covid-19 restrictions have seen major changes to how education can be delivered, with more remote learning frameworks being implemented,” Ms Newbury said.
“WoodSolutions is now investigating how it might build on these changes with new visual and digital timber teaching resources.”
Ms Newbury said this industry-educator initiative was a hugely valuable occasion to allow WoodSolutions to learn directly from the lecturers what worked and what didn’t, in delivering remote learning to students.
“The information provided will be enormously valuable in the current educational resource update exercise WoodSolutions is embarking on,” she said.
“It was an extremely positive two days,” said Boris Iskra, FWPA national codes and standards manager, who presented at the workshop
He noted that “the university lecturers were all very keen to be part of discussions and expressed a strong desire for WoodSolutions to develop future resources for them that they can then apply in their own lectures.”
The two-day workshop included presentations on topics from micro-credentials and upskilling to innovations and challenges in codes and standards. Participants also heard from industry experts on timber design, wood products, prefabrication, and construction.
Rounding up day one was a presentation on innovations in the European industry and timber education from Professor Robert Jockwer from Chalmers University in Sweden.
The second day included presentations from representatives of all the university participants who outlined their timber-related teachings and R&D expertise, giving the workshop participants a complete picture about who is doing what in timber education in Australia.
Next, an interactive session focused on opportunities for industry and educator collaboration in research and development.
The final group discussion involved a series of roundtable discussions on R&D topics and how collaboration and coordination can deliver effective and timely R&D activities.
Feedback from both industry and university attendees was that the workshop had been extremely worthwhile and a great initiative and that they were certainly looking forward to future events.
For further information on this workshop or the WoodSolutions education program contact firstname.lastname@example.org