Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will provide just over $300,000 to pilot a forestry training course as a solution to the growing forestry skills shortage, Regional Economic Development and Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced today.
The full cost of the pilot is $840,000, with the additional funding coming from the Eastland Community Trust, the Forest Growers Levy Trust and the Eastern Institute of Technology.
“Forestry is a key sector in Tairāwhiti, but there simply aren’t enough skilled workers in the region to do the work,” Shane Jones said.
“The ManaiaSAFE Forestry School pilot course funded through today’s announcement will reduce the current skills shortage by preparing individuals with the right skills needed to be successful and make forestry their career of choice.
“The pilot will take eleven trainees through 20 weeks of training, with the goal of gaining permanent employment. It will also contribute nine new jobs to the local community through the running of the course.
“Current forestry training often sees students move from the classroom to a full commercial logging crew, with practical learning done on the job in a high pressure environment. This can lead to disengagement and potential health and safety risks.
“The ManaiaSAFE Forestry School pilot will bridge the gap between the classroom and commercial sites by delivering a specifically designed training programme within a controlled, commercial environment.
“The forestry training pilot has the potential to provide real benefits to the Tairāwhiti region through skills training and employment for our rangatahi, while contributing to the goals of the One Billion Trees programme.
“If successful, the pilot could also form the basis for similar training courses in other parts of the country where there are forestry skills shortages,” Shane Jones said.