A group of 14 secondary school students in the Limestone Coast region are taking their first steps toward a career in forestry today thanks to a partnership between Industry, the Department of Education and Child Development, Logging Industry Training Association (LITA) and the Forest Industries Training Network (FitNet).
The Ultimate Renewable Forest Learning Pathway aims to equip secondary students with the knowledge and skills necessary for them to join the forest and timber industry with a Certificate III and SACE credit points.
Paul Hartung from OneFortyOne said “this program will give students in the Limestone Coast a unique experience of theory and practice in the forestry industry.
“Forestry is a critical industry for the Limestone Coast region, but there is currently an industry skills shortage,” he said.
“OneFortyOne has invested in the forest learning pathway because we want to develop the skills we need locally as we plan for our future workforce
“By completing this program, students will be well-positioned for future career pathways including apprenticeships, traineeships and tertiary qualifications in the forestry industry.
“It means those students will have a head start over others looking for work and career opportunities.”
The inaugural year of the program has seen 14 students sign up, coming from Mount Gambier High School, Grant High School, St Martin’s Lutheran College, Tenison Woods College and the Independent Learning Centre.
The pathway program incorporates a range of classroom and field-based experiences. Students will also undertake several competencies from the Forest Growing and Management, Harvesting and Haulage and Sawmilling and Processing training packages which have been nominated by industry to support relevancy and access to future pathways.
“As a result of the program, we hope to educate students about the career options available in forestry, build momentum and interest among a wider range of students, grow talent within the community and offer professional options for their development,” Mr Hartung said.
The Green Triangle is home to Australia’s largest collective plantation and timber processing industry, contributing significantly to the economies of Victoria and South Australia and generating more than $778 million Gross Regional Product annually.
In excess of 355,000 hectares of softwood and hardwood plantations produce timber for local manufacturing, national and export markets.