Skill short­ages

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

Crew con­cept that used to ex­ist un­der the old For­est Ser­vice struc­ture, whereby a num­ber of re­cruits work in a crew en­vi­ron­ment over­seen by tu­tors – this sys­tem is still used in parts of Europe.

“The ad­van­tage of the first one is that you don’t drop pro­duc­tiv­ity much and it’s much eas­ier to make hap­pen with the co­op­er­a­tion of con­trac­tors in the re­gion, while the ad­van­tage of the other ap­proach is that you get a bulk num­ber of peo­ple through the sys­tem, al­though it’s more dif­fi­cult and costly to do,” adds Mr Field.

He thinks a com­bi­na­tion of the two ap­proaches could be made to work, de­pend­ing on the sup­port and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween con­trac­tors, for­est own­ers/man­agers and train­ing in­sti­tu­tions.

Mr Field says there are al­ready of­fers from ma­jor for­est own­ers/ man­agers, in­clud­ing his own com­pany, to as­sist with set­ting up and sup­port­ing th­ese crews for train­ing. The idea has also won sup­port from WorkSafe and the For­est In­dus­try Safety Coun­cil, which both sent rep­re­sen­ta­tives to the Ro­torua meet­ing last month.

“The old For­est Ser­vice train­ing was a good model,” says Mr Field. “They even had a dual con­trol ma­chine so that a tu­tor could sit in with the trainee and do one-on-one ses­sions.”

He can’t see why a train­ing in­sti­tu­tion like Toi Ohomai couldn’t build a dou­ble seat cab for an ex­ca­va­tor as part of its en­gi­neer­ing course to pro­vide for forestry stu­dent train­ing pur­poses.

Mr Fields also says the in­dus­try needs to get away from the cur­rent sys­tem where WINZ sends peo­ple from its un­em­ploy­ment ros­ter to forestry train­ing cour­ses who may not be suited to the in­dus­try and prob­a­bly don’t want to be on those cour­ses in the first place.

“We need to take con­trol of the se­lec­tion process – we want peo­ple with the right at­ti­tude, who want to be part of forestry and are will­ing to learn, be­cause the WINZ way doesn’t work,” he adds.

Mr Fields says Ray­onier Matariki Forests is pro­vid­ing full sup­port for him to be in­volved in help­ing to drive the train­ing ini­tia­tives within the in­dus­try. In five years, he hopes there will be a com­pre­hen­sive pro­gramme that at­tracts more peo­ple into forestry, bet­ter pre­pares them for the work in­volved and pro­vides con­trac­tors with ready­made, on-the-job skills train­ing that fits their re­quire­ments.


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