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Meeting Aligns Industry and Education Provider

June 10, 2004

Meeting Aligns Forest Industries Council And Waiariki Institute Of Technology

Waiariki Institute of Technology's skill, course structure and approach to education in wood processing and forestry were highly praised during a visit to the institute's Waipa campus and wood-processing mill by the Forest Industries Council CEO Stephen Jacobi.

"Waiariki is a core provider to the timber industry and the council seeks to further strengthen the relationship it has with the institute," says Jacobi.

"We are conscious of the contribution Waiariki makes and what I've seen here brings home the fact that there are many highly skilled and motivated young people being readied to enter the timber industry."

Jacobi says he's particularly impressed with the bicultural approach to the delivery of teaching as forestry is an industry that to an increasing extent revolves around Maori ownership and employment.

"I came away deeply impressed by the commitment of staff to promoting knowledge, excellence and safety, by the strong links Waiariki has in the industry and by the hopes and plans it has for its future development.

"I was also impressed by the emphasis on safety as we as an industry have put a lot of effort into ensuring people are safe in our work places.

"I can see from the structure of the training that people will leave Waiariki with the attitude we are looking for. That is, taking responsibility for the safety of themselves and their workmates."

Jacobi says he's in no doubt Waiariki has an important role to play in the timber industry's future.

Head of Forestry & Wood Processing at Waiariki, Ben Mitai, says Stephen Jacobi's visit was important as the Forest Industries Council oversees many of the programmes that aim to advance the forest and wood processing sector and its membership includes most of the chief executives of the major wood processing companies and organisations.

"Stephen's visit showed that we are recognised by the council as a key provider of talent and skill to the overall industry," says Mitai.

"It was clear he was impressed with our operation and the plans we have for the National Centre of Excellence. Without doubt the Forest Industries Council and ourselves are aligned on what is needed in forestry and wood processing in the 21st Century.

"We need to work collectively to ensure we capture the value from our forest resource and I know the goodwill is there for that to happen." The New Zealand forest and wood processing industries account for 4% of GDP, directly employ 23,000 people and are the third largest export earner with international sales in excess of $3.5 billion.

ENDS

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