THE HEAD of the British Woodworking Federation has warned that an increasing reliance on eastern European craftsmen threatens the sustainability of the industry.
Chief executive Richard Lambert said: 'Because there is a shortage of skilled labour if it comes from another country to fill the gap then employers will take it up.
'Many of our members employ craftsmen from eastern Europe but it is not a sustainable solution to rely on migrant labour.'
His comments came as the BWF launched a training forum to tackle a crippling shortage of bench joiners.
Key aims include building a complete database of courses run by colleges and private providers nationwide and an on-site assessment pilot - potentially run by assessors from the BWF membership - to help put trainees through NVQs.
Mr Lambert added: 'Training provision across the UK is very patchy. There are colleges which don't have the woodworking machinery to train, and those that don't have the experienced staff.'