Training hub offers more than future work security
ESTABLISHMENT OF the Arbre Forest Industries Promotion and Training Hub at Invermay (Tasmania) is seen as more than just a new approach to ensuring qualified workers for the future ... it’s a huge attitudinal change from industry and its participants!
The hub aim is to upskill forestry workers, in conjunction with our relevant RTO,s, to meet changing expectations of expertise in all facets of the work AND it’s about changing community attitudes towards that work.
Hub Project Manager Col McCulloch, a longtime forestry contractor who knows the industry exceptionally well, says the industry wants to do a better job of “showing who we are, what we are, how we do it; being proactive and re-directing the conversation around forestry and its importance within the Primary Industries nationally”, and this ties in with the skill set change.
Col said Tasmania’s wood and forestry industry had changed and now needed more people equipped with the right skills and attitudes than had been required in the past.
“The ownership of the forests is completely different to what it was five or 10 years ago. We’re very much owned by investment-based companies, most of those being international. Expectations around safety and training are a lot higher, as they should be, and of course industry has got to perform to standards set by certification programs,” Col said.
Col said the hub would cater to former and existing forestry workers as well as new entrants and he was hopeful that up 50 candidates would benefit from the centre in its first year..
The hub is working with existing training providers and careers advisors, to join the aspirations of employees to the jobs and career pathways that would emerge as the industry recovered and started to expand.
“We do need people who understand what mapping is, forest value recovery and understand computer values now more so than ever. If we can sell that message into our communities, into our schools, into our education system that if you are a good person we will find you a job, then that’s half the battle,” said Col.
Sam Hall, from a well-known north-east Tasmania logging family, has just joined the hub as Coordinator and he, too, is looking forward to the centre playing a crucial role in providing wellskilled future employees for the industry.
“The wheels are in motion to have things fully operational by the start of the education year,” said Col.
In the meantime, special simulators have been installed at the Invermay
centre and another major simulator will go on show at AUSTimber 2016 before being installed at the hub.
“The hub’s charter is to work diligently, and foster strong relationships with the education industry, government agencies, training providers, and community groups to promote the value and opportunity of forestry careers,” said Darrell Clark (Chairman of the Governing Board represented by Forico, Forestry Tasmania, the Kevin Morgan Group, Timberlands Pacific, Norske Skog and I-Farm ).
Darrell said the project was “much overdue, and very much industry driven”.
“We will create a membership base of like-minded employers within the industry that will be informed, on time, of any potential employee possibilities through a communications program involving introduction, progress and follow up, as well as up to date information and participation in training and employment programs as and when they appear. The bigger and wider we can create this network, the more successful the Hub will be,” Darrell said.
Tasmanian Resources Minister Paul Harriss said the hub will allow us to meet the current and future needs of an expanding forest industry across a range of operations, including harvesting, haulage and the highly technical plantation sector. The Tasmanian Government contributed a one-off grant of $150,000 to enable the start-up, matched with a dollar-for-dollar commitment from industry.
Jodi Batchelor, working on her Skidder as she graduates through the hub’s Timber Skills Learning Environment Program.
Hub Coordinator Sam Hall explains the functions of the Waratah Simulator to Hub Chairman Darrell Clark (Timberlands Pacific). www.timberbiz.com.au
Hub Project Manager Col McCulloch