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Forestry back in full swing

The forestry industry is back to operating at full capacity in Tairawhiti, according to feedback at this week's Eastland Wood Council (EWC) meeting.

“The feedback indicates that everyone is back at full capacity with some contractors still recruiting skilled and entry-level workers,” said EWC chief executive Kim Holland.

“Member companies all commented at the meeting about how professional the contractors' approach was to the Covid-19 protocols, and will continue to maintain the Level 2 requirements.

“As we know, health and safety is paramount in our industry.

“Silviculture contractors are getting their numbers up, with planting due to start on Monday.

“They have found the recruitment programme, supported by EWC, FICA (Forestry Industry Contractors Association) and MSD (Ministry of Social Development) through the Work the Seasons platform, has been helpful.”

Ms Holland said truck drivers were being recruited across all classes through the Tairawhiti Road Transport Programme to meet the needs of infrastructure projects and other sectors, including long haul, couriers, livestock, cartage and log carriers.

“Our Generation 5 is back on Monday . . . and with extra funding from Te Uru Rakau (Forestry NZ) we are able to give them additional training in tracks, wheels and rollers, driver licensing and first aid.

“Recruitment for Generation 6 will start next week for a June 15 intake,” she said. “This is to take advantage of the current upswing in the industry and to enable those who might have lost jobs in other areas to consider a job in the forest industry, and enrol in our entry-level training programme.”

Ms Holland said with the Government announcement of investment into jobs, apprenticeships and training, it was a great time for their Generation Programme graduates to pathway into the forestry industry, and for the continued investment in “growing our people”.

BUSY PORT: Three overseas ships were alongside the wharf at different times yesterday. The Berge Rishiri (right) completed loading about 20,000 tonnes of logs for China early in the afternoon and sailed. Her place at the dock was taken by another log boat, the Baltic Sea. The freighter Atlantic Erica (left) took on board about 1000 pallets of kiwifruit for Japan and sailed last night. Seven more log ships are scheduled between now and early June. Picture by Liam Clayton