Young student thrives in forestry

“People our age are wanting to make a positive contribution and make a change to the environment. The forestry industry gives us a chance to be the good managers of the future.”

Second year Forestry Science student Hayley Fish had intended to train to be a veterinarian when a visit by OneFortyOne New Zealand’s Christoph Riedel to her school persuaded her to consider a career in forestry.

Hayley had always had an interest in biology and wanted a job that allowed her to work outdoors at least some of the time. Hayley loves spending her free time in the forestry environment but knew little about the industry itself.

“I had no idea what forestry was about previously,” says Hayley, “I just used to think it was a shame that all the trees were getting cut down. Now I have an understanding that the trees are replanted and that there are a lot of controls and restrictions in terms of what can be done in a plantation forest. It’s not destruction, it’s sustainable as long as you have the right management in place.”

Winning a scholarship from OneFortyOne was affirmation that she had made the right choice as it allowed her to have experience working in the industry during the summer before she started at the University of Canterbury.

“It confirmed that this is where I wanted to be and put more things into perspective. It showed me the variety of roles in the industry. It also reassured me that there would be job security for me which is important. Our cohort are looking forward to being able to get a job related to our degree at the end of our studies.”

After a year of general study at university Hayley has enjoyed the forestry-based classes during her second year. She’s encouraged by the fact that about a third of the students in her forestry science programme are women.

In addition to an annual cash grant, OneFortyOne scholarships offer recipients work placements with the company during university holidays. Hayley says that she’s been really pleasantly surprised by the work that she’s been given.

“The company has really put their trust in me and given me projects and allowed me to pursue them in my own way. To be given an interesting project straight out of high school was a great experience and I think that will help me to get a job in the industry in the future. It’s so great to be doing work that’s applicable to my career during the holidays.”

In the future Hayley is keen to pursue opportunities in environmental planning and forest management and she’d like to pass on the torch and encourage other young people to consider a forestry career.

“People our age are wanting to make a positive contribution and make a change to the environment. The forestry industry gives us a chance to be the good managers of the future.”

Hayley Fish in the OneFortyOne forest

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