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TDUK moves to set skills agenda for timber design and construction

29 Jun 2022

Timber Development UK (TDUK) has signed a strategic partnership with Edinburgh Napier University and the New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) to improve knowledge and skills in timber design and construction.

The partnership will see Edinburgh Napier University – a leading technical research institute for timber engineering and design – produce a written library of technical documents which will be made free to all TDUK members.

It is widely recognised that there is a ‘knowledge gap’ for specification of timber products among trainee architects, engineers and related studies. To close this gap, TDUK and Edinburgh Napier University are working together to create a knowledge library consisting, from launch, of 150 reports authored by leading wood science and timber specialists. The library will cover information about timber supply, design considerations and building techniques with the goal of providing architects, specifiers and engineers with all the information they need to put timber at the heart of projects. 

This will be a rolling contract which will see the library expand and develop each year with the aim to create the largest, most comprehensive technical timber information resource in the UK – if not the world!

In addition, the Knowledge Database will be used to underpin and inform a set of short practical courses being developed by NMITE’s Centre for Advanced Timber Technology (CATT) in partnership with TDUK.

The ‘Timber TED’ (Technical Engineering & Design) courses will create comprehensive and flexible upskilling and reskilling training for modern methods of timber construction. Learners will gain specialist timber construction knowledge and skills for the built environment, focusing on “better, faster and greener” delivery.

TDUK chief executive, Dave Hopkins explained:

“With ESG pressures mounting in boardrooms, it is clear that increasing the use of timber in architecture and construction can provide a very positive contribution towards achieving our Net Zero goals. It is also my belief that the specifiers of the future will need a better understanding of wood and timber if they have any chance of hitting the ever more demanding carbon targets for construction. Our partnerships with Napier and NMITE will help set the timber skills agenda going forward and will provide the underpinning specification knowledge needed to achieve this.”

NMITE Chief Academic Officer, Professor Beverley Gibbs commented

“NMITE champions student-centred learning and a curriculum fuelled by real-world challenges, and our approach is distinctive in higher education and attracts a wide range of learners. Consistent with NMITE's core principles, these courses have been conceived and will be delivered in partnership with external stakeholders. Partnering with TDUK and Edinburgh Napier will create the enabling conditions to stimulate collaboration across the industry vertically (seed to end product) and horizontally (architecture, construction, digitalisation) whilst showing an upcoming generation of professionals how rewarding a career in timber can be”.

The first phase of the Knowledge library is due to go live in the autumn of 2022. The TED short courses – aimed at engineers, architects and technical design and sales operatives within timber manufacturing firms – will start in September 2022.

Commenting on the Knowledge Library, Kirsty Connell-Skinner, Sustainable Construction Partnerships Manager at Edinburgh Napier University said:

“This partnership demonstrates Edinburgh Napier’s commitment to timber engineering education. With increasing momentum to tackle the climate crisis, ensuring our future workforce is skilled in the benefits of using timber solutions is vital. This knowledge library further enhances earlier investment by HCI Skills Gateway in a national timber competency framework and will give students access to information about supply, design and techniques to encourage more use of timber in construction projects.”

TDUK will be sponsoring the Timber Expo and Sustainability stage at UK Construction Week at the Birmingham NEC in October. You can also find out more here.


Notes to Editors

About TDUK

Timber Development UK has been formed from the merger of the two largest and longest established organisations in the supply chain, the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) and Timber Research and Development Association (TRADA).

Bringing these two associations together as one will create the largest, most comprehensive supply chain body in the UK, spanning from sawmill to specifier and all points in between.

As a single supply chain organisation we are seeking to:

  • Connect the Supply chain
  • Lead Best Practice 
  • Accelerate a low-carbon future

TDUK has over 1200 business members forming a professional network across the country.

To learn more please visit:


A disruptor engineering institution, New Model Institute for Technology and Engineering (NMITE) is responding to some of the key challenges of higher education today; taking the best practice and innovations from around the world and combining them into a learning-by-doing approach that addresses needs of both students and employers.

With funding from the Department for Education, the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and other philanthropic and industry support, NMiTE will create a university in Hereford, in a region with limited higher education provision; acting as a catalyst for regeneration in the city and boosting the economy. NMITE has a city centre campus focused on the delivery of an MEng in Integrated Engineering and the new Skylon campus 3 miles (20min cycle / 1hr walk) away constituting the Centre for Advanced Timber Technology (CATT) and a Centre for Automated Manufacturing (CAM) will start to become operation from August of this year. 

The drive for the CATT will be to showcase the practical uses of timber as a construction material, modern wood production methods and regenerative design principles. In doing so it will become a beacon of sustainability, helping established and sustain local timber construction industries and stimulate growth throughout the UK value chain for job and wealth creation providing an outlet for NMITE’s graduates within an inclusive growth model.

About Edinburgh Napier University

We are Edinburgh Napier University, the #1 Modern University in Scotland (Sunday Times GUG 2022) and #1 in Edinburgh for Student Satisfaction (NSS 2020 & 2021). We pride ourselves on being the home of difference makers—an enterprising and innovative community, renowned internationally, with an unrivalled student learning experience. With more than 300 undergraduate and postgraduate courses and nearly 20,000 students from over 140 countries studying on campus in Edinburgh, online and at partner universities worldwide, we deliver meaningful, difference-making education and research for a rapidly changing world. For more information, visit

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