The new owner of Nelson Forests OneFortyOne (OFO) has marked the settlement of its purchase with the announcement of two significant new initiatives – the establishment of a substantial fund for sedimentation research and a school leaver programme that will provide trade apprenticeships at Nelson Forests’ Kaituna Sawmill near Blenheim.
Nelson Forests has committed $500,000 to its new sedimentation research fund and has already engaged with researchers at Cawthron Institute and Landcare Research, although it expects to develop collaborations with researchers at other organisations over time.
Lees Seymour, Managing Director of Nelson Management Ltd, the management company for Nelson Forests, says that sedimentation research will take place in Marlborough and Nelson Tasman and will build on work that the company has already done on the issue of sedimentation.
“We realise that there is a high level of interest in forestry’s role in sedimentation and that our community is looking to us to proactively address this issue. Research is crucial and will help us prevent, manage, and mitigate sedimentation.”
Tim King, Chair of the Tasman District Council Environment and Planning Committee, strongly supported the company for establishing the new fund. “It is excellent to see Nelson Forests engaging with researchers and the community on the issue of sedimentation. This is exactly the kind of thing we want to see from forestry companies.”
Nelson Forests’ new school leaver apprenticeship programme for students from Marlborough Girls College and Marlborough Boys College was also warmly welcomed. The programme is being set up to assist school leavers to make the transition to an apprenticeship programme.
The Principal of Marlborough Girls College, Mary-Jeanne Lynch, says that there would be strong interest in trade apprenticeships at Kaituna Sawmill amongst her students. “There are great careers available for women in forestry, and it’s really heartening to see that Nelson Forests has 33% of all managerial roles being filled by women. We are excited to see our students being considered for these apprenticeship opportunities.”
The Assistant Principal of Marlborough Boys College, James Ryan, was similarly enthusiastic. “Not all students want to go into tertiary study and it is so important that all our students have meaningful pathways ahead of them.”
Starting from next year, Nelson Forests expects to offer up to four trade apprenticeships at one time at its Kaituna Sawmill in a diverse range of vocations including fitter turner, electrician, saw doctor, timber processor, boiler operator, and timber machinist.
The new Nelson Forests initiatives were announced at two special functions in Nelson and Blenheim held to celebrate the settlement of OFO’s purchase. OFO’s Chair, John Gilleland and CEO Linda Sewell were among those present.
“We are delighted to mark the settlement day in this way,” said OFO Chief Executive Linda Sewell. “Nelson Forests has a strong reputation for environmental stewardship and encouraging young people into forestry and these new initiatives support the company’s existing values. Those values are also very important to OFO and we look forward to continuing to contribute to the Marlborough and Nelson Tasman communities.”