New forestry apprenticeships offer flexibility

New forestry apprenticeship programmes launched in 2018 were designed to give forestry workers the flexibility they need to succeed.

The two new forest harvesting level 4 apprenticeships – one in manual operations and one in mechanised operations – had extensive input from Forest Industry Contractors Association (FICA) members, logging contractors and forestry managers, to ensure they are modern and practical.

With mechanisation increasing, a specific apprenticeship has been developed that ensures apprentices gain key entry level skills and knowledge before advancing to operation of mechanised processors and harvesters. It also allows for people completing the basic machine operations programme through a provider to start an apprenticeship when they are employed.

Forest harvesting apprenticeships offered in the past have been challenging to finish on time given the unique work environment. Often apprentices change roles within crews, or move between crews which means their roles and responsibilities change. We found a lot of them were having to pull out half-way through their training because they couldn’t complete their qualifications. Hence the need for flexible programmes.


Skilled workforce critical for success

There’s a lot of focus right now on the future of forestry with the government’s growth targets – the goal to plant a billion trees, and the investment through the Provincial Growth Fund.

Competenz supports workers to make sure they have the skills and knowledge to work safely and that they’re gaining the qualifications they need for a successful forestry career.

Infometrics data shows that 11,011 people were employed in the forestry sector in 2017 and 4,339 more will be needed by 2022 to replace workers who retire or leave. Nearly 65% of the forestry workforce has no post-school qualification, but we would like to see that number reduce.