Kuru Contracting Limited is a family-owned-and-operated forestry business based in Tolaga Bay on New Zealand’s East Coast. While the business primarily focuses on logging operations, recent ventures have seen the company expand into road maintenance and quarry operations.
In an industry that carries a high level of risk in its daily operations, on-the-job training is an essential component of Kuru Contracting’s business to ensure every one of its 50 staff is kept safe. It’s a large company in industry terms, with forest owners Hikurangi Forest Farms and Woodmarketing Services requiring training programmes to be in place for all of its
forestry contractors, along with WorkSafe NZ.
“For us, the health and safety of our workers and our business is number one, and training is an important part of that. Every person must be ticketed or undergoing training for the specific task they are doing,” says Kuru Contracting Health and Safety Manager Raewyn Hunt.
Kuru staff can study toward the New Zealand Certificate in Forestry Harvesting Levels 3 and 4, apprenticeships and OSH Levels 3 and 4.
“There are certain units people need to gain to operate different types of forestry machinery,” says Raewyn. “Every new staff member will enrol in a qualification pathway depending on the units they already have or don’t have, the areas they want to upskill in, and where they want to go in their career. For everyone this is different, so it’s a complex job and one I work closely with Competenz on.”
Competenz Account Manager Cliff Stoddart has been working with Kuru Contracting since 2013. He says the Kuru's are a very well-known and respected local family and they enjoy a good working relationship.
“It is my job to provide solutions to the company’s training needs. We not only provide the learning programmes, trainers and assessors, we also support the company’s involvement in industry initiatives including the Eastland Wood Council Awards, Got A Trade week and Women in Forestry,” he says.
Training also provides Kuru Contracting with the added benefit of extending the life of its expensive machinery and equipment. “The Competenz programmes have been designed to educate people firstly on basic machine maintenance and only after that, does the operating part of the training begin. This way they learn to look after and respect the equipment they work on,” says Raewyn.
In her busy role, the support Raewyn receives from Competenz is invaluable. “Cliff is great. If I have a question he gets straight back to me. It’s incredibly helpful that Competenz has an online portal where the assessors can upload their results really quickly. I can see every single person’s record of learning and the signed off unit goes through straight away – there’s no waiting.
“For us, training brings value across the company. Not only do the staff gain a higher level of knowledge, accidents are minimised and there’s an incentive to stay with the company.
“We are proud of our very high staff retention rate, which we put this down to the investment owners Ricky and Leanne Kuru have made in their people through training.”