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Safety And Quality First for Forestry

Safety And Quality First for Forestry –

Changes announced for national forestry training qualifications.

A review of qualifications for forestry workers led by industry training organisation Competenz has resulted in new qualifications being developed with an increased focus on health and safety, and environmental protection and quality.

The New Zealand Certificates, to be launched later this year, will give more weight to essential knowledge like health and safety and quality. They also increase the focus on supervisory and crew management skills.

Competenz’s newly appointed national manager, Mark Preece, says the organisation has closely collaborated with contractors, workers, forest owners, trainers and assessors throughout the country to develop the new qualifications.

“The industry’s feedback has led to improvements which are better suited to building the skills of the current and future needs of the 2,573 trainees who are currently working towards a forestry qualification.

“We now have dedicated managers in every region with heavy forestry activity. And we’ve upped the number of contract assessors who support forestry learners across the country, by fifteen,” says Mark.

Competenz plans to back up these new qualifications in the coming year with workshops to help forestry assessors build and refresh their skills and more support to help companies build their training resources in breaking out, tree felling and mechanical harvesting.

Mike Diamond, a contract assessor in Rotorua is behind the opportunity to refresh his skills.

“As an assessor there are times when it’s best to demonstrate safe practices with tools, especially in chainsaw safety. The assessor workshops will be an opportunity up skill, and to share ideas and discuss new developments with other assessors too,” said Mike.

While the ITO’s improvements stand outside the Independent Forestry Safety Review currently being undertaken by the forestry industry, Competenz expects the changes will contribute to the sector’s focus on quality and safety while lifting productivity.

The Competenz qualification review was conducted over 24 months, and consisted of focus groups and industry meetings to assess the requirements of forestry’s competitive and changing environment.

“Industry feedback is key to everything we do. Over the next year we’ll continue to assess the training needs. Looking long term, we know by 2025 the forest industry will need an additional 25,900 trained workers to replace the natural attrition of workers within the industry – that’s a net increase of 5,300 workers compared to 2012,” says Mark.

“Improving the skill level of the workforce is a critical requirement for achieving the industry's targets, and we’re committed to helping deliver the results.”

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