Hon Shane Jones, Minister for Regional Economic Development
The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF)’s skills and employment programme will help young Otago people into long-term forestry careers, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.
Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 year olds to enter careers in forestry.
“Forestry is currently enjoying a renewed lease on life thanks to the One Billion Trees programme and the Government’s emphasis on the sector for both regional development and environmental outcomes,” Shane Jones said.
The funding will see these young people trained, upskilled and supported into local full time employment. They will gain first-hand experience in the forestry industry, from establishment to production, while gaining industry-related qualifications,” Shane Jones said.
“Forestry is a major industry in the Otago region but forestry companies are short of workers. Additionally, there’s an ageing workforce so it’s important that we encourage more young people into sustainable and exciting forestry careers,” Shane Jones said.
“And there are wider public benefits – the forestry industry offers opportunities to optimise land use, help mitigate the effects of climate change, protect the environment, and ensure sustainable fibre has a key role in the future low carbon economy,” Shane Jones said.
Participants for the programme will be recommended by their schools and will be interviewed for suitability before being accepted.
The PGF funding will pay for a qualified industry tutor, support the transport of trainees to the course and to work experience, and cover the administration costs required to run the course.
Funding from the Provincial Growth Fund is approved in principle and announced, after which contracts are negotiated. Some funding may depend on completion of business cases. Payments are made once agreed milestones are met. These are set as part of contract negotiations, and differ from project to project.