Given the strong demand for workers in the Tairāwhiti forestry sector, a new course from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa offers graduates extremely healthy job prospects, says course kaiako (teacher) Sonny Hitaua.
“Graduates will definitely get to embark on a solid new career, offering good income and ongoing employment,” says Sonny, who will run the course out of the Whirikoka campus in Gisborne.
The Certificate in Forest Industry Training programme starts on 1 March and runs for 22 weeks.
At this stage, the course is expected to have up to 20 places. There are no course fees.
Besides learning at Whirikoka, the course will involve extensive practical experience with forestry operations.
Sonny says the course is broken into 10 units covering a range of general forestry industry requirements, as well as skills such as pruning, measuring the number of trees in an area, health and safety, radio communications and fire fighting.
“It’s a comprehensive course which will equip students well to work in the industry.”
He says demand for forestry labour is shown in the number of recent newspaper ads for workers and one contractor indicating he is wanting to employ a significant number of course graduates.
Sonny, of Te Aitanga a Māhaki, has personally had more than 20 years experience in the sector, following on from his father and grandfather who also worked as foresters, and he has a diploma in forestry.
“For me it’s family oriented. It’s an industry which has put food on the table and connects us as a family.
“Key things for success in forestry are enjoying being physically active outdoors and a willingness to get stuck in.”