People working in practical jobs can move along a well-established qualifications pathway during their career, gaining certificates, enhancing skills and increasing earning potential.


Many forestry contractors and forest owners work together to provide on-the-job training to crew members and other staff. This can include, for example:

When thinking about taking a job in the industry, you could ask about what training opportunities a potential employer might offer.

Practical skills training is available nationwide and mainly offered through Competenz, the forest industry’s training organisation. Competenz provide regional trainers who work with forestry contractors and their employees.

In some regions, training is delivered by private training companies who usually work together with Competenz. 


Training providers in some regions may offer short courses to people already employed in the industry. These courses may be tailored specifically to meet the needs of customers and may be for topics and subjects better delivered in a training room, or as a combination of practical and theory. Topics in this category may include; Health and safety, first aid, environmental, leadership, supervision and management, communications, inter-personal skills and Assessor and Trainer training.

These courses may be from one or two days up to a week in duration and will normally focus on  unit standards and credits which can be applied to a NZ Certificate.

You can find providers on the NZQA website by accessing the unit standards number then searching ‘organisations with consent to assess’, by region.


1. NorthTec, Northland

NorthTec offers a range of forestry training at their main campus in Whangārei, from Forest Foundation skills at Level 2 to micro-credentials training at level 3-4. These are practical courses aimed at upskilling both experienced workers and people who are relatively new to the industry.

There are Level 2 courses available in Forest Industry Foundation skills, Level 3 courses in Forestry Operations and Forest Harvesting, and similar Level 4 programmes with other strands in Silviculture and Planning and Monitoring.

Many of these are smaller packages in the form of Training Schemes which lead to NZ Certificates.

NorthTec also runs satellite courses in other regions in conjunction with contracted industry Trainers.

Visit the NorthTec website for more information and also meet some of the tutors and students. 

You can email Phillip Nikora or phone him on 027 704 6593. 

2. Turanga Ararau, Gisborne/East Coast

Turanga Ararau (Gisborne) collaborates closely with the east Coast forest industry and the Regional Wood Council, to offer a range of training for new entrants and people already working in the industry. Courses offered are:

Full details on the Turanga Ararua website or contact

 3. Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology, Bay of Plenty

This Institute has held a position of strength and tradition as a forestry provider for many years. It offers the NZ Diploma in Forestry (Level 6) and provides a range of courses at Levels 2-4 from several campuses in the central North Island. 

Current offerings include:

Full details available at Toi Ohomai or email Lee Andrews

4. Western Institute of Technology (WITT) , Taranaki

WITT offers an introductory course which trains people in practical skills around chainsaw, landing operations and quality control in forest harvesting. This is a 20 week, full time course that involves classroom work and work placement in a harvesting crew. The qualification offered is a NZ Certificate in Forest Harvesting Operations (Level 3)

Details are available on the Western Institute of Technology site. Contact

5. Mike Hurring Forestry Training, Balclutha

Mike Hurring Forestry Training offers a training programme for people already working in harvesting crews. The course is based in Balclutha, South Otago, and comprises five one-week courses over a ten-month period. It is run in conjunction with Phil Williams, the local Competenz manager. 

Have a look at Mike's Facebook page

Contact: 03 419 0101