Wednesday, February 28, 2024

New forestry initiative to create workforce opportunities

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A new State Government-funded initiative will support the Limestone Coast timber and forestry sectors to address current skill gap shortages and develop the ‘workforce of the future’.

Minister for Education, Skills & Training Blair Boyer officially opened the Mount Gambier Skills Centre this week, which will have a specific focus on timber and forestry, with an accompanying field-based role working directly with industry.

Funded by a $565,000 grant from Skills SA, the centre was an initiative by the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub (GTFIH), Group Training Employment (GTE) and Logging Investigation & Training Association (LITA) and backed by twelve industry representatives.

Group Training Employment General Manager Greg Megaw said Mount Gambier’s Andrew Norman had been newly appointed to the Field Officer role in October and was already out meeting with local businesses.

“Andrew is out there in the field developing those all-important relationships with industry, to talk about skill gaps and understand the current and future employment needs of the sector, whether it’s milling, silviculture, or harvesting and haulage businesses,” he said.

As a GTE Field Officer, Andrew will provide a one-stop-shop for the forestry sector to recruit, promote and employ trainees, including facilitation, monitoring of training and pastoral care.

“Through Andrew’s role, we’ll also see greater promotion and education of forest industry vocations at schools and job networks across the Limestone Coast.”

Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub Workforce Development Manager, Josh Praolini said the centre will equip the next generation of forestry workers with the knowledge and capabilities to succeed in industry.

“The changing nature of work in the forest and timber industry means that we need to ensure there are opportunities to support the development of the new skills required,” he said.

“Locally, the centre will be able to deliver the Timber and Wood Products Operations Certificate II and III, which will provide a conduit for future employees to enter the industry with a qualification and also provide an opportunity to develop the skills of current employees.

“GTFIH are excited to support the development of the skill centre, having industry-driven support, and to be able to collaborate with both GTE and LITA to ensure a wrap-around support is provided to new apprentices and trainees.”

Naracoorte Community News 29 November 2023

This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.

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