For many thousands of university students across Australia, this week heralds a new term of learning. However for Mount Gambier locals, Todd Reid and Taylah Martin, their university careers aren’t starting in a lecture theatre, but right here in the workplace.
For the past few years, OneFortyOne has offered scholarships for students studying forestry science. This year former Grant High School student, Taylah Martin, started working with the OFO forests team while studying for her degree.
“I am really passionate about the environment and the future of our planet. I wanted to work in this field, but I didn’t think about a university degree until I saw the OFO scholarship”, said Taylah.
Former Mount Gambier High School student Todd Reid felt the same. Todd is the inaugural winner of the OFO Business Cadetship program. He is working at the Jubilee Highway Sawmill learning all aspects of business in one of Australia’s biggest timber mills, whilst studying a commerce degree locally at Uni SA.
“I always knew I wanted to go to university, but I didn’t want to move away. The OFO cadetship was a really exciting way for me to stay local and start my career. I can take what I learn in the classroom and see how it happens in the real world, in real time with a big business”.
OFO’s Head of Finance, Darren Sims, was the driving force behind the OFO Business Cadetship Program. Darren started his own finance career nearly 30 years ago as a trainee, studying for his degree whilst working in a Mount Gambier mill.
“I think the forests and timber industry is the best in the world. It is one of the planet’s ultimate renewable industries. At OFO it’s important for us to invest in this region’s future leaders as they bring a young, vibrant, innovative mind to our team and add real value” said Darren.
Both Todd and Taylah think a career in forestry and timber is more than they were expecting. It’s modern and high-tech, using drones in the forest and specialised computer technology in the mill.
“I wish everyone knew how cool this industry is”, said Taylah. “We do more than plant trees and stack timber. We are at the forefront of science and technology and we also help save the planet too”.