Publication:

Stratford Press - 2021-06-09

Data:

More take forestry roles

Front Page

Alyssa Smith

Aforestry conservation course is getting trainees qualified and ready for employment. Tree Machine manager David Hare and employee Shane Hape have been working with the latest group of students over the past four months. David and Shane are responsible for the training itself while Steve Robinson, also of Tree Machine, provides pastoral care for the students. The Taranaki Forestry Conservation course is funded by Te Uru Rakau and NorthTec with Tree Machine contracted to provide the training. The course has been running for three years, and is supported by the Mayor’s Task Force for Jobs, the Taranaki Regional Council, Department of Conservation, the Ministry of Social Development and forestry companies. David says the course is also supported by iwi and hapu¯, with many of the trainees connected to iwi. “We have 11 trainees in this year’s intake. They are from Nga¯i Tu¯hoe, Nga¯ti Awa, Nga¯ti Porou, Nga¯ti Maru, Taranaki, Nga¯ ruahine, and an Australian student.” Over the 17 weeks participants complete 12 unit standards, gaining a total of 65 credits. These national level two qualifications for forestry meet the entry level requirement for work in the forestry or conservation industries. As well as gaining those industry qualifications, participants have also been learning about Ma¯ori protocols and history as the course includes learning about tikanga and participating in cultural experiences. “The participants learn their pepeha, karakia, waiata, and the Taranaki Conservation Haka. We instil manaakitanga and whakawhanaungatanga in all our students.” David says the training is focused on skills and personal development. “Skills training includes health and safety, tree pruning, basic chainsaw safety, weed and pest control, riparian planting, spot spraying, arboriculture, forestry, and first aid.” Creating and encouraging a positive work ethic in each of the trainees is part of the personal development component of the course. “It’s about reliability, punctuality, a positive attitude, as well as ensuring each trainee is able to get their driver’s licence if they don’t already have it.” The trainees go on a number of field trips and site visits to expand their knowledge and gain experience. “We’ve visited places such as Te Wera Forest, Te Koru Pa site, Taranaki Sawmills, Port Taranaki log yard, Kaitake Ranges, DoC sites and farm sites across Taranaki as well as meeting with various logging crews and talking to them.” David says trainees benefit from the effort put in by all involved. “The wraparound support from all parties is life changing for these participants.” He says the commitment and dedication the trainees make to the programme is admirable and it is always a highlight to celebrate their success with the graduation ceremony in front of wha¯nau, friends and the many people involved in making the course a success. This cohort’s graduation ceremony took place at the Stratford and Districts Senior Citizens Hall this week. The success of the course shows in the results, with David saying every one of the 11 students has work lined up already. “One student has been accepted into a three-year apprenticeship with the Purangi Kiwi Project, and the others will go into spot spraying, riparian planting, and other jobs for nature projects in Taranaki.”

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