Silviculture subsidy to support Kiwi locals

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Silviculture in New Zealand got a boost with a support subsidy package announced last week from the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) which will assist this sector to secure a workforce to meet the 2020 planting season labour requirements.

Border closures as part of the NZ COVID-19 elimination strategy have meant the sector couldn’t rely on seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands, as it has done in in the past. It means there are now jobs in the Silviculture/forestry sector for New Zealanders that need jobs. The subsidy will assist contractors to employ “Kiwi Locals” and support sustainability in the sector.

“In collaboration with MSD we will work with forest owners and management companies and take responsibility for creating new jobs and job security for the next six months,” says Prue Younger, CEO for Forest Industry Contractors Association. The $2.5M subsidy package will be based on a series of milestones with support payments to both the employer and employee.

Minister for Social Development Hon Carmel Sepuloni said the funding was for jobs in an industry needing workers right now. “This funding is getting New Zealanders working and assisting the forestry sector to get on with the business of planting for next season. We’re also keen that this investment has an eye on the future too as it supports upskilling the forestry workforce.”

There will be a requirement for the employee to enrol in the new micro-credential unit standards and the offer to undertake further work-ready standards that Competenz, the industry ITO, launched this year. These will be offered online and provide the employee opportunity to understand the career pathways available in forestry. Contractors will also be urged to register their job vacancies on the Work the Seasons website www.worktheseasons.co.nz to promote availability to job seekers and people looking for work.

The planting season will run from May through to October and support new plantings as part of the 1Billion Tree Programme along with replants in existing forestry estates. Forest Industry Contractors Association will administer the subsidy and more information along with registration details can be found on www.fica.org.nz

Source: Forest Industry Contractors Association

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