Forest Training Steps Up

10 September 2019

Money from Shane Jones' Provincial Growth Fund may soon be helping train more newcomers around New Zealand to make a career in forestry.

Two of the country's larger training providers have applied for PGF funding, joining those on the East Coast, like the Generation Programme, which has already received financial support to help put new people into harvesting and silviculture crews.

The latest to apply for PGF assistance are the Toi Ohomai Forestry School at Rotorua and Mike Hurring Logging Training School in Balclutha.

Richard Stringfellow, Toi Ohomai's Programme Manager for Forest Operations, told the HarvestTECH 2019 conference in Rotorua that his organisation is currently in the throws of applying for PGF support to help take its machine simulators on the road.

Toi Ohomai has a number of simulators to train students how to operate a variety of forestry machines, from wheeled forwarders to tracked harvesters. Recently it has taken portable versions of the simulators to Fieldays and an agricultural show near Wellington to widen interest in its courses.

"There was a lot of interest but as soon as I say we're based in Rotorua the interest drops away," says Mr Stringfellow.

"So, what we would like to do is get another set of simulators and place them in a container or something similar and work alongside the companies and the contractors so we can get these courses on the road."

He says Toi Ohomai is currently working out the logistics of such a programme and hopes to have the simulators on the road in 2020.

Harvesting contractor, Mike Hurring, runs a training course established at his company's headquarters on the outskirts of Otago town, Balclutha, where he has simulators and a variety of machines used for training apprentices from his own crews and other contractors around the region.

No training school has already held three courses and he has applied for PGF funding to extend those into the future.

Mr Hurring told the conference he had visited Finland to see the national training school established to train that country's young foresters and was very impressed with the scale and professionalism.

"I'd love to mirror it here," he says.

This article originally appeared in Logger.

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