Boost for forestry workforce program

Council’s Forests Taskforce has been successful in its application for funding of a crucial workforce development program for the North Coast Forest area.

The funding injection of $106,000 was obtained from the National Workforce Development Fund and will be used to support training and workforce development in areas of current and future skills need, within the forest and milling industry.

Economic Development Manager, Trevor Sargeant said funds would assist in providing school-based apprenticeships and pathways for people to gain work within the local forest industry.

“This is another important step in ensuring the sustainable future of this important local and rural industry,” Mr Sargeant said.

Other projects currently underway by the Taskforce include community awareness of the forests and timber industry, point of sale differentiation and signifying the outstanding qualities of hardwood grown on the North Coast.

“This is an active and earnest industry Taskforce with a strong commitment to the sustainable future of their industry” said Mr Sargeant .

A strategic review recently undertaken by the Taskforce recognised a pressing need to build a resource network of experienced staff, groom new entrants to the industry and create ongoing employment opportunities.

“Mills are currently very short of skilled employees and this situation is likely to continue without an appropriate industry response,” Mr Sargeant said.

The project, coordinated in partnership with the Taskforce, NSW Forests Products Association, North Coast TAFE, ForestWorks Industry Skills Council, Forests NSW and Council will see a number of local forest industry businesses participating in the program including Hayden’s Timers, Boral and Australia Solar Timbers.