Fu­ture Foresters are the fu­ture of forestry

New Zealand Logger - - Dana Conference 2018 -

A NUM­BER OF KEEN YOUNG FORESTERS HAVE SET UP A GROUP aim­ing at at­tract­ing new blood into the in­dus­try and it’s al­ready mak­ing a dif­fer­ence.

They call them­selves the Fu­ture Foresters and at the 2018 DANA Forestry Con­fer­ence in Taupo last month, one of its foun­da­tion mem­bers spoke about its aims and am­bi­tions.

Sheri­dan Ash­ford, who is Ex­port Op­er­a­tions Man­ager for Sum­mit Forestry, says the idea for Fu­ture Foresters was sparked a year ago and it be­came es­tab­lished as a spe­cial in­ter­est group within the New Zealand In­sti­tute of Forestry thanks to fund­ing from the For­est Grow­ers Levy Trust.

“It’s so frus­trat­ing that we have a skills and labour short­age when there are in­cred­i­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties out there for young peo­ple in our in­dus­try,” Sheri­dan told the con­fer­ence.

“So we cre­ated Fu­ture Foresters with three main goals; to es­tab­lish a com­mu­nity of young foresters and make it a place where foresters can en­gage with the in­dus­try and feel part of the col­lec­tive group; in­crease the num­ber of young peo­ple who choose forestry as an in­dus­try ca­reer; and build en­gage­ment and aware­ness of forestry as a di­verse and re­ward­ing pro­fes­sion within schools and ter­tiary providers.

“We want to con­nect with young pro­fes­sion­als ei­ther study­ing or work­ing in forestry and we want to reach fur­ther and grab prospec­tive tal­ent and bring them into our in­dus­try.”

Fu­ture Foresters was for­mally launched at the re­cent NZIF con­fer­ence in Nel­son and the group has built a web­site (www. fu­ture­for­esters.com), cre­ated a Face­book page and In­sta­gram pres­ence as part of a so­cial me­dia cam­paign to tar­get young peo­ple with in­for­ma­tion about the op­por­tu­ni­ties in the in­dus­try.

The web­site went live in June and is at­tract­ing a grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple who want to know more about forestry as a ca­reer, while the Face­book page and In­sta­gram are still rel­a­tively new.

The next stage of the cam­paign has been to cre­ate a se­ries of short videos star­ring young foresters who talk about their pos­i­tive ex­pe­ri­ences in forestry, invit­ing view­ers to try it them­selves as part of a Get In Touch cam­paign.

The first video, fea­tur­ing Al­fred Du­val of Port Blakely Forests in Tau­ranga, has al­ready been seen by 70,000 peo­ple via Face­book and In­sta­gram.

In­ter­est­ingly, Sheri­dan says the peo­ple who are view­ing the Fu­ture Foresters sites mostly come from the big cities, such as Auck­land and Christchurch and, im­por­tantly, 65% of peo­ple who viewed the Al­fred Du­val video are un­der the age of 25, which shows there is in­ter­est in non-tra­di­tional forestry ar­eas.

Fu­ture Foresters is look­ing to grow its mem­ber­ship and pres­ence around the coun­try and, in ad­di­tion to at­tract­ing more peo­ple into the in­dus­try it aims to help with pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment men­tor­ing of young foresters.

NZL

A group of young pro­fes­sion­als in the in­dus­try has formed the Fu­ture Foresters.

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