The forestry sector continues to provide career opportunities for New Zealanders, with Te Uru Rākau delivering $1.5 million into training and employment projects to help the sector meet labour and skills gaps.
Acting deputy director-general Henry Weston says the Forestry and Wood Processing Workforce Action Plan, developed in partnership with the sector, identified up to 5,000 more forestry and wood processing workers would be required by 2025.
"The food and fibre sectors are a key driver for the New Zealand economy and it's a priority for the Ministry for Primary Industries to invest in projects that attract people to the sector.
"As New Zealand continues to recover from the economic impacts of COVID-19, we need people taking up careers in this important sector. The forestry and wood processing sectors already bring in between $6 and $7 billion each year, employ 35,000 people, and we want to keep helping New Zealanders find exciting and rewarding training and career opportunities.
"It was great to see 10 trainees graduate from a 17-week Taranaki-based course at the end of 2020 and go straight into jobs. The training built the silviculture skills of young people, enabling them to work within the iwi land development program and within the wider Taranaki region."
The course, run by Treemachine Services for rangatahi from Ngāti Maru and other Taranaki iwi, was funded by Te Uru Rākau with support from North Tec, Taranaki Regional Council, Department of Conservation and Ministry of Social Development and forestry companies.
In Masterton, KTM Silviculture Limited ran a programme for 24 trainees to gain Level 3 NZQA silviculture training qualifications.
"This will help address a labour/skills gap in Wairarapa, which is currently holding back forestry activities in the region," Mr Weston says.
"Funding provided to Tāne Mahuta in the Bay of Plenty enables 20 tairua (students) to do an 8-week Te Whakatō Rākau training programme, and we are also supporting a programme for 12 local rangitahi aged 18-29 run by Mohaka Kingz Contracting Ltd for their E Tu Kahikatoa project in Wairoa.
"The students will not only gain NZQA Level 2 and Level 3 forestry credits, they will get work experience in a commercial planting environment, nutrition advice and kaihautū mentor support within a kaupapa Māori framework."
Te Uru Rākau is also supporting the education of younger students and a grant has been provided to the Southern North Island Wood Council to deliver the Wood is Good education programme. This programme teaches rural primary school students about logging truck safety and introduces aspects of forestry through in-class activities.
Mr Weston says these training investments are part of Te Uru Rākau's broad programme that is assisting the industry to meet its training and employment needs in coming years.
"We encourage anyone interested in the wide range of career opportunities in forestry to find out more at forestrycareers.nz or the Opportunity grows here website at opportunitygrowshere.nz/forestry."
Te Uru Rākau funding to employment and training programmes
- Competenz – Harvesting Simulator Apprenticeship Training Pilot, Southland, $461,420 for 24 apprentices
- Treemachine Services, Taranaki, $183,240 grant for 20 trainees to complete a 17-week NZQA-accredited forestry training course.
- KTM Silviculture Limited, Masterton, $200,000 for 24 trainees over 2 years to undertake Level 3 NZQA silviculture training.
- Tāne Mahuta, Bay of Plenty, $227,375 for 20 tairua (students) to undertake an 8-week Te Whakatō Rākau training programme.
- Mohaka Kingz Contracting Ltd, Wairoa, $72,148 for 12 Māori rangitahi aged 18 to 29 years for training through their E Tu Kahikatoa project.
- KDL Contractor Silviculture Training Programme, South Waikato, $90,007 to fund an 8-week course to meet the urgent need for skilled forestry planters.
- The Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA), $102,500 for a project to build sustainable silviculture, helping to ensure the forestry sector
- The Southern North Island Wood Council, $85,000 for their Wood is Good education programme.
- FICA Generation Programme Stage 1 Training - $20,000