Support key to success forestry training programme

In HarvestTECH, HT Event by FIEALeave a Comment

Nearly a year after its official launch, New Zealand’s Eastland Wood Council-driven Generation Programme is proving its worth in multiple ways. Launched in April last year the programme had its first intake of 14 trainees in October, with most of those now gainfully employed within the industry. The programme is now accepting enrolments for its second intake.

Generation Programme manager Siobhain Fyall says it has certainly produced plenty of challenges but also amazing individual success stories. “That has just blown us away,” she says. “It is working well because it‘s driven by the industry and designed to meet their needs. I am very happy with the results from the first intake. The trainees were driven and highly motivated, mainly because they knew there was a job in the forest industry for them once they finished.”

Trainees complete a six-week forestry base camp programme as an introduction to the industry and are then matched with contractors from a range of sectors, including harvesting, operations, quality control, port work, processing and transport. Siobhain and programme tutors continue to support the trainee for the first six months of their employment.

“We get to know our students and their families really well, and I think this whanau focus approach has been one of the keys to our success. Trainees are fully engaged from the start with little down time during the very full-on six-week programme.”

The feedback Siobhain has received from contractors has been fantastic and there is a huge demand for the programme graduates. “We are sending them good workers who are work-ready and keen to learn. Much of the focus is about giving these trainees a chance to succeed and building some self-belief.”

Another key to the success of the programme is the flexibility, pastoral care and support, and industry involvement. Every Friday trainees are taken on site visits giving them an opportunity to meet and talk with those who are actually working the machines, right in the thick of operations. “Our trainees come back from these visits just buzzing and really motivated to continue,” says Siobhain.

The Generation Programme is a collaboration between the industry, Turanga Ararau, First Choice Employment and Competenz, supported by the Ministry of Social Development and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The next ‘generation’ will be starting March 4, with a further intake 29th April; places are filling fast.

For more information contact Siobhain at

A raft of successful training initiatives, including the Eastland Wood Council-driven Generation Programme, for those involved in wood harvesting operations starting to show dividends across the region along with key drivers encouraging younger students to look at forestry as a career option are one of the key themes for the upcoming HarvestTECH 2019 event being run for harvesting companies across the region on 26-27 June in Rotorua, New Zealand. With skills shortages, how to retain existing workers and attract new entrants into wood harvesting is such an essential component of doing future business.

Source: Eastland Wood Council

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