Tim­ber train­ing cen­tre open­ing soon

Fraser Coast Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - An­nie Perets an­nie.perets@ fraser­coastchron­i­

A TIM­BER com­pany will open a train­ing cen­tre in Mary­bor­ough af­ter strug­gling to fill va­cant po­si­tions be­cause of un­qual­i­fied ap­pli­cants.

Sunchip Group man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Mark Black­berry said roles of­fer­ing a yearly salary of $80,000 and a work-life bal­ance were dif­fi­cult to fill.

“We are re­ally strug­gling to find forestry work­ers as there are not enough skilled peo­ple to drive our ma­chines,” Mr Black­berry said.

“The tim­ber in­dus­try is sus­tain­able and we are need­ing more peo­ple to re­alise that.

“Some of the ma­chines cost $1 mil­lion each, and we need to be con­fi­dent in the peo­ple driv­ing them.”

The train­ing cen­tre, which hopes to skill peo­ple for the tim­ber in­dus­try, is pre­dicted to open half­way through this year.

It will also of­fer cour­ses in me­chan­ics.

Mr Black­berry said the short­age of skilled tim­ber work­ers was a na­tional trend, and those who train-up in Mary­bor­ough could also take post­ings in other parts of the coun­try.

Mary­bor­ough MP Bruce Saun­ders said the dif­fi­culty to fill po­si­tions in cer­tain in­dus­tries due to lo­cal work­ers not pos­sess­ing qual­i­fi­ca­tions is was one of the rea­sons why the Wide Bay re­gion has some of the coun­try’s worst un­em­ploy­ment rates.

“We have to re-skill peo­ple, and get peo­ple skilled,” Mr Saun­ders said.

“One of the prob­lems we have is when jobs come up, no­body has the skills.”

Mr Saun­ders, who helped se­cure a new tim­ber fire sta­tion that will be built in Howard this year, en­vi­sions the tim­ber in­dus­try to be an even more vi­tal player for the Mary­bor­ough econ­omy mov­ing for­ward.

“We are plan­ning to also ex­pand the laun­dry (Wide Bay Group Linen

Ser­vices), which is for un­skilled work­ers, to even­tu­ally dou­ble what it is now,” he said.

“And bio­fu­els is go­ing to be huge.

“We’ll need ex­tra peo­ple to grow more cane, work­ers at the mill and the agri­cul­ture in­dus­try.”


SKILLING WOKERS: A tim­ber train­ing cen­tre will open in Mary­bor­ough.

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