Re­turn to train­ing crews to solve

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

A MOVE TO RE-IN­TRO­DUCE THE TRAIN­ING CREW CON­CEPT used by the NZ For­est Ser­vice and large forestry com­pa­nies in the past is be­ing touted as a way to at­tract re­cruits to the in­dus­try and up­skill ex­ist­ing work­ers in the fu­ture.

A short­age of labour and is­sues with train­ing peo­ple to use ma­chines on the job, prompted con­trac­tors, for­est own­ers/man­agers, learn­ing in­sti­tu­tions and oth­ers to gather in Ro­torua last month to seek a so­lu­tion.

Those at­tend­ing the meet­ing were pleased that the is­sues of train­ing and re­cruit­ment were be­ing taken more se­ri­ously. Or­gan­is­ers will now sift through the points raised dur­ing the dis­cus­sion to for­mu­late a plan to work with, in­clud­ing how the train­ing crew sug­ges­tion can be im­ple­mented, us­ing the Scan­di­na­vian model as a pos­si­ble base.

The idea, which was flagged in the FICA col­umn in the Au­gust is­sue of NZ Log­ger mag­a­zine, is be­ing driven by Ray­onier Matariki Forests’ Qual­ity Man­ager, Fraser Field.

He says: “What re­ally gave me the idea was the con­stant ques­tions from con­trac­tors about ‘how the hell am I go­ing to find good peo­ple’. It got me think­ing about what we need to do to fill that void.

“There is grow­ing aware­ness of the need to at­tract and train per­son­nel into ca­reers op­er­at­ing ma­chines in the for­est in­dus­try. Cur­rently the ex­ist­ing frame­work lacks co­her­ence, suf­fi­cient trainees, scale and ad­e­quate fund­ing.”

Whilst the fo­cus is on train­ing peo­ple to use ma­chines in the for­est, Mr Field says his pro­posal would in­cor­po­rate all facets of ed­u­ca­tion and up­skilling in the for­est.

With the back­ing of Ray­onier Matariki Forests man­age­ment, Mr Fields has spo­ken to other for­est own­ers and man­agers, as well as the con­trac­tors or­gan­i­sa­tion, FICA, to get the ball rolling.

He is us­ing the forestry pro­gramme de­vised by the for­mer Wairakei In­sti­tute, now re­named Toi Ohomai, as an ex­am­ple of what can be achieved around the coun­try.

Toi Ohomai has been re­de­vel­op­ing its forestry stud­ies to take ac­count of the new tech­nol­ogy be­ing em­ployed in the bush, with a strong em­pha­sis on giv­ing trainees ex­pe­ri­ence and tu­ition in op­er­at­ing modern har­vest­ing, pro­cess­ing, load­ing and trans­port­ing equip­ment, us­ing the lat­est sim­u­la­tors and now their own tracked ma­chine.

Toi Ohomai has pur­chased a Cat 324DL grap­ple loader that has been work­ing in the for­est with P and D Stephens Log­ging, thanks to as­sis­tance from PF Olsen. In ad­di­tion to train­ing peo­ple on its sim­u­la­tors, the ma­chine will be used near Toi Ohomai’s train­ing mill just south of Ro­torua to give them prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence.

Mr Field says: “Toi Ohomai has demon­strated a suc­cess­ful train­ing process, and the pro­posal of­fered here is that this should be ex­panded and in­creased in scope.

“Toi Ohomai now trains at the Ba­sic Ma­chine Op­er­a­tion level (level 3) and the time ap­pears right to ex­pand that ca­pac­ity na­tion­ally. Both in num­bers and in the cer­tifi­cates of­fered.”

Mr Field en­vis­ages train­ing in­sti­tu­tions like Toi Ohomai adopt­ing sim­i­lar schemes around New Zealand, of­fer­ing new en­trants into forestry ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion and Level 1 NZ cer­tifi­cates that would in­clude ex­pe­ri­ence on sim­u­la­tors and pos­si­bly ma­chines, if avail­able in their ar­eas. Their cour­ses would also pro­vide train­ing for ex­ist­ing forestry work­ers up to more ad­vanced stages.

Part of the con­cept is based on set­ting up Train­ing Crews that would pro­vide the prac­ti­cal ex­pe­ri­ence and on-the-job tu­ition.

Mr Field says this could be done in one of two ways; place an in­di­vid­ual with an ex­ist­ing pro­fes­sional forestry crew where the ex­pe­ri­enced mem­bers would help train them; or

revert to the spe­cialised Train­ing

Toi Ohomai has pur­chased this Cater­pil­lar 324DL, with as­sis­tance from PF Olsen, to pro­vide prac­ti­cal train­ing for stu­dents.

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