Re­gional Voice

New Zealand Logger - - Top Spot -

Barry Wells, Har­vest Op­er­a­tions Man­ager, Port Blakely- Ti­maru

We have sev­eral ap­pren­tices within our six crews and it's a great way to fast track learn­ing, with the foun­da­tions be­ing built on site and then get­ting to­gether to do the group learn­ing in a class­room. We be­lieve that the trainees get the ben­e­fit of this net­work­ing. As a for­est com­pany we cover the costs of the train­ers to be in our crews and crews carry the cost of hav­ing the peo­ple out of pro­duc­tion. About ten years ago things weren't work­ing that well with train­ing and so we took it upon our­selves to sort things out in-house. We have found that higher skill lev­els and a sta­ble place to work re­sults in low turnover within the crews, how­ever turnover does not seem to be as much as a chal­lenge in the South Is­land as it is in the North Is­land. Cur­rently our crews have most of their work­ers ei­ther un­der train­ing or fully trained for task, but we still want to keep peo­ple in the habit of learn­ing so have train­ing plans in place for them all, even those ex­pe­ri­enced em­ploy­ees. There are higher level cour­ses avail­able through Com­pe­tenz to meet these needs. We have also had two ap­pren­tices win the South­ern Wood Coun­cil Ap­pren­tice Award which was a great achieve­ment. In our re­gion there are few crews close at hand, it's a smaller in­dus­try and em­ploy­ers tend to look af­ter their guys well, so em­ploy­ees stay loyal to their crews. We are very keen to still see young peo­ple com­ing into the in­dus­try and like to de­velop peo­ple from the ground up. We have re­cently had two high school stu­dents start work in our crews who were part of the Trade Academy scheme in their high schools, so it is good to see that path­way work­ing well also. We like to work with a few lo­cal high schools around the re­gion and pro­mote forestry and the ca­reer op­por­tu­ni­ties that are avail­able.

Blake Speirs, Speirs log­ging- Gis­borne

Train­ing is im­por­tant to us in the work­place and we are do­ing so much in that space but times are chang­ing and with mech­a­ni­sa­tion, drones and not hav­ing peo­ple on the slopes the em­pha­sis is on tech­nol­ogy. Guys need ba­sic train­ing but when they step into an en­closed cab and op­er­ate ma­chines all day the fo­cus for train­ing should be on that spe­cific task. Ap­pren­tice­ships are just that - ap­ply­ing learn­ing on the job and over the years we have trained up sev­eral em­ploy­ees. They come with­out any bad habits, you are able to train them around your com­pany en­vi­ron­ment and the con­trac­tor can shape to fit into their work poli­cies and prac­tises. While train­ing on the job they get paid but the hard­est thing is to find youth with a good at­ti­tude. The in­dus­try is be­ing more pro­fes­sional than it ever was and pro­vid­ing bet­ter op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn in a safer en­vi­ron­ment but par­ents are heav­ily in­flu­enced around what they see in the me­dia. How do you im­prove that pub­lic mes­sag­ing?

I have had a cou­ple of my staff un­der the ap­pren­tice­ship pro­gramme and one is now op­er­at­ing the skid­der and the chap op­er­at­ing the main loader is still go­ing through. Com­pe­tenz have been great, we are see­ing a lot of train­ers and this makes it more ef­fec­tive to train on site but we know that comes with a cost to our ITO. Train­ing bears a lot around health & safety and this is a huge pri­or­ity. Train­ing pro­vides our peo­ple the tools to make good de­ci­sions and while pa­per work and poli­cies are in place, these are only mea­sure­ment tools. Our con­cen­tra­tion should be on re­mov­ing and re­duc­ing any risks be­fore they hap­pen.

Mike Hur­ring, Mike Hur­ring log­ging & Con­trac­tors- Bal­clutha

Train­ing comes with a cost and of­ten a ques­tion of who pays for it but I have to say some of the for­est own­ers who are sup­port­ing train­ing fi­nan­cially are reap­ing the ben­e­fits. The mind­set of the crews is im­por­tant, they need to want to learn. Com­pe­tenz work hard with con­trac­tors to get train­ing hap­pen­ing to how the in­dus­try want and they have man­aged and sup­ported us with the 5 x one-week cour­ses and with place­ments with con­trac­tors. We need the right peo­ple, peo­ple who want to work in the in­dus­try, but we need to make sure we are op­er­at­ing a good cred­i­ble in­dus­try. For an in­dus­try that of­fers the third largest GDP for the coun­try, we don't do a very good job at pro­mot­ing our in­dus­try. Full time train­ers, as we have (paid for by as­sess­ments) is what the in­dus­try needs and I also have spent a lot of money on sim­u­la­tors and fa­cil­i­ties, but its been great to see them be­ing used and in­te­grated into the early stages of learn­ing. It's about learn­ing at "grass roots" and once that is done, con­trac­tors are pre­pared to take on ap­pren­tices and we take the 5 week course and roll it out over 10 months. The process of fin­ish­ing a unit stan­dard be­fore you go onto the next one is around DKO "demon­strate knowl­edge of" and then do­ing the prac­ti­cal train­ing. The ap­pren­tice will be work­ing to­wards achiev­ing Na­tional Cer­tifi­cate L3 af­ter the 10 months. Fol­low­ing the 10 months of cen­tralised train­ing, ap­pren­tices who pass the course will come out with two level 3 qual­i­fi­ca­tions, ba­sic ma­chine op­er­a­tor and man­ual pro­cess­ing. It has been a mat­ter of get­ting on with it and do­ing it our­selves. Even I don't stop learn­ing as a few of us head up to Fin­land soon to a con­fer­ence based on train­ing through one of their uni­ver­si­ties.

Paul Flem­ing, PD Flem­ing log­ging- Taranaki

I got into forestry 5 years ago, hav­ing been a dairy farmer, gone out as a fenc­ing con­trac­tor and then stum­bled across the op­por­tu­nity to get into har­vest­ing of wood­lot blocks. I had a con­tract to har­vest a wood­lot put in front of me and I have con­tin­ued ever since with plenty of work for sev­eral years ahead of me. In­ter­est­ingly though it was af­ter a Work­safe rep saw my loader and came to in­spect the work site and busi­ness, that I re­alised the need for train­ing. I did pass with fly­ing colours on the H & S side of the busi­ness but fell short of the PD for my staff. I im­me­di­ately got in­volved with Com­pe­tenz and their ap­pren­tice­ship pro­gramme and I have not looked back. I have one crew and that varies from 3-4 peo­ple and cur­rently I have two em­ploy­ees on scheme. The first chap has been on the scheme for 20 months and is pro­gress­ing re­ally well with faller-pro­cess­ing units and the other has been with me for 3 months but work­ing steadily through the qual­i­fi­ca­tions. The down­side is af­ter in­vest­ing in em­ploy­ees and train­ing them up to na­tional cer­tifi­cates over 3-4 years that they can move on to other jobs. But you just have to look at it pos­i­tively know­ing that your busi­ness did ben­e­fit from your in­vest­ment in them while they were em­ployed by you. And sec­ondly that you have sent a qual­i­fied per­son out into the in­dus­try and if all crews were on board we would all have a lot more qual­i­fied peo­ple to em­ploy. Al­though it costs to train up crew mem­bers, you know that they are ca­pa­ble and that only re­duces my risks. The good thing about the ap­pren­tice­ship scheme is that they are trained within your own cul­ture, your own pa­ram­e­ters and your way. I have great re­la­tions with Work­safe, they see that I have in­vested in train­ing and care for my em­ploy­ees. I fo­cus on wood­lots around Taranaki and do pro­mote to other small con­trac­tors the need to en­gage train­ing so that the work en­v­i­ron­ment is safe. Farm­ers of these wood­lots need to sup­port the reg­u­la­tions around en­try on site and be lead­ers to the pub­lic. Hon­esty, pride and cred­i­bil­ity go a long way in this in­dus­try and train­ing re­in­forces this.

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