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Waiariki Provides Training For One Sawmill Shift

Waiariki Provides Training For One Entire Sawmill Shift

In what could be a first within New Zealand's forestry sector, the Waiariki Institute of Technology's School of Forestry and Wood Processing is providing training for the entire second shift of a North Island sawmill.

Twenty four personnel from Kiwi Lumber's Dannevirke sawmill are part-way through a 12-week block-course which sees them training for eight consecutive weeks at Waiariki, Rotorua, and a further four in their employer's sawmill. The training, which is to NZQA Unit standard, is a combination of hands-on practical training and theory.

Kiwi Lumber, which has sawmills in both Dannevirke and Putaruru, has often used Waiariki for upskilling its personnel in the past - including unit-based training for its staff under the old Waiariki structure. However, this is the most comprehensive course yet and the first time the company has committed an entire shift to training.

Trainees travel to Rotorua each week and spend nearly five full days from Monday to Friday at Waiariki.

The present course includes hands-on training at Waiariki Sawmill under Waiariki and Kiwi Lumber trainers. All seven Waiariki Sawmill staff are involved in the training which covers all aspects of sawmill operation.

Kiwi Lumber's Dannevirke manager, Paul McCreedy, says the training provided by Waiariki is proving very successful.

"We've been involved with Waiariki long enough to appreciate the effectiveness of their training," he says. "The present block course looks like it will be a winner."

McCreedy says with 110 staff between two sawmills, and a further 20 to be added, training is an ongoing priority for Kiwi Lumber. "We consider training is essential to our operation, as it is to the whole forestry sector."

Waiariki's academic director and acting head of the School of Forestry and Wood Processing, Gary Dender, says the training module in place provides good opportunities for the school and for Kiwi Lumber.

"The present course allows us to demonstrate to industry that our training systems are effective and that we can accommodate large numbers of trainees at one time," he says.

"It also enables Kiwi Lumber to train and upskill an entire shift through intensive training over a relatively short period of time."

Dender says the training is going well - "and so it should: after all, training is our core business."

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