EWC programme opens forestry pathway

1 September 2019

The shake-up of vocational training in New Zealand has been welcomed by the forestry industry here, just as its own apprenticeship programme takes off. Eastland Wood Council’s Generation Programme last week celebrated the first of their graduates to go on to sign up for a Competenz forest industry training apprenticeship, with 21-year-old Tahi Hiroki the first to move on to a three-and-a-half-year apprenticeship with Dewes Contractors.

“Apprenticeships and on-the-job training programmes are essential for an industry like forestry where workers can learn while they earn, there is a focus on practical skills and contextualised learning, and they can be assessed while actually doing the job,” Eastland Wood Council chief executive Kim Holland said.

Ms Holland said the news came at a time when the Government has given vocational education a big shake up, moving the nation’s training institutions, where much of the apprenticeship training is done, under one body.

“From an industry and a regional perspective, it will allow training providers to provide programmes and training that meets the needs of industries in the region,” she said. “It should also give more flexibility in delivery and programme structure, to make ongoing training more accessible”.

“Polytechs and PTEs won’t be so constrained by their funding mechanisms, which currently limit what programmes they can offer and how they are delivered. For forestry we hope that it gives better access for on-the-job training and assessment, and increases the number of people in our workforce engaging in upskilling, and ongoing training”.

“For forestry as an industry we submitted for a stand-alone industry skills body — Te Ako Ngahere – Forest Industry Skills Organisation (FISO) — to oversee the qualifications and training, rather than sitting under the umbrella of a wider cross-industry body.”

It would also provide a stronger focus on work-based skills training and assessment. “We think that it’s a good thing,” Ms Holland said. “The changes will also ensure there is a regional focus for any education and training programmes, to meet the needs of industry, offering flexibility of delivery styles and models”.

Tahi’s example with Dewes Contractors is the goal of our Generation Programme, ensuring that our graduates not only move into employment in forestry but work with further training and a career pathway.” Tahi Hiroki completed a New Zealand Certificate in Forest Harvesting Operations Breaking Out (Cable), Level 3 as part of his programme with Turanga Ararau.

“I wanted to get a good job, and one that would provide stability for my family,” he said. He is father to 18-month-old Tahi Jnr and has another child due in October. He signed up to the Generation Programme in October last year and said he enjoyed it straight away.

“I really enjoy the people who are around it and being outdoors all day is good too.” He was now set on gaining more qualifications and perhaps moving into the falling side of forestry longer term. “I am really excited for the future.”

Dewes Contractors’ health and safety manager Paula Neshausen said the young man was an inspiration who had all the makings of becoming a really great logger. “Watching him come through the programme and grow in confidence has been a real pleasure for us. These young guys are our future.”

The apprenticeship would cover all aspects of ground-based cable logging and towards the end he will get to decide if he wants to move to the machinery operation basics or tree falling.

“We are so proud of him — he works very hard and deserves this opportunity,” Generation Programme manager Siobhain Fyall said. The next “generation” of the Generation Programme starts on September 30. For more information contact Siobhain at

Photo: Gisborne man Tahi Hiroki ready to get down to work in forestry, after graduating from EWC’s Generation Programme. Picture by Brennan Thomas
Source: Gisborne Herald, Eastland Wood Council