Business South April 2022

62 | FORESTRY Canterbury West Coast Wood Council Promoting forestry sector in schools Richard Loader Field trips are an integral part of promoting the forestry sector in schools. Established in 2021, the Canterbury West Coast Wood Council (CWCWC) is spearheading an exciting project designed to promote the forestry sector to the region’s primary and secondary schools and is part of the national Discover Forestry New Zealand programme. The project is being funded from a grant to the eight regional wood councils throughout New Zealand from the Forest Growers Levy Trust (FGLT) and Te Uru Rakau- The New Zealand Forest Service, to deliver a national school engagement programme. Two coordinators have been employed by The Wood Council of New Zealand to run the primary school engagement programme called Wood is Good, and the secondary school engagement programme called Grow Me. Each of the eight regional wood councils share in the funding to produce a programme that best suits their regional needs. For example, the Gisborne region has a large population of Te Reo speakers so the Eastland Wood Council is providing primary school children with materials written in Te Reo. CWCWC has produced a series of children’s forestry books and a forestry activity book for home learners and classrooms and hired a part time coordinator to run its programme. Erica Kinder, CEO for CWCWC says the planning and development work has now been completed and the project will launch on the 21st of March to coincide with the International Day of Forests. “We will deliver boxes of these free resources to primary schools during that week. Currently only 30% of children are actually attending school, so home learners can contact us and we will send them the free resources. With the secondary schools it’s about giving students experiences. “We want them to come out and do field trips, which is hard to do in our sector. But with this funding we can hire buses, do health and safety plans, provide them with PPE gear and take secondary school students out to view these work environments that they would not otherwise be able to access.” Erica says the forestry companies and members are very keen to showcase their businesses and dispel the myths surrounding forestry. “Our sector is quite hard to get to know. It’s quite closed off and a lot of what happens is out of sight. “So we want to engage with the community and give them information and a good way of doing that is to start with schools. A lot of that information flows through to teachers and parents, so we can influence people’s attitudes and thinking by giving them information about the sector. “Otherwise they’re getting information from outside sources, which might not be correct. We want to provide that link with students back to industry, around careers and training. “The forestry sector, like all sectors at the moment, is short on staff, so we’re trying to find new ways to attract people to the sector and a good start is to make them aware of it in the first place.” Whether the industry start point is University, a trade or working for a contractor there are many different entry points for those interested in the industry to consider and Erica says the Council wants to provide a point of contact to help people understand the different career options that are available. “They might not know about GIS mapping, or that each forestry company has engineers and environmental coordinators as well as people flying drones. “Much of the contractor work on the ground is highly mechanised these days requiring skill sets quite different to what they would have been a decade ago. “We need people who have a skilful PlayStation hand, because if they can do that they can drive a harvesting machine that has toggles and buttons and not a steering wheel. “Even school careers advisors don’t know the full range of jobs offered. “They might know about the University of Canterbury School of Forestry degree, but they don’t know all the other things that are available.” Next year the Wood Council of New Zealand is putting together an application to turn the work done this year by the individual regional wood councils into an organisation in its own right called Discover Forestry New Zealand and is hoping to get government funding along with funding from FGLT, which all the Councils can link in with. “So this year is a pilot to see what each of the Wood Councils can deliver in their respective regions and to get feedback about what worked, what resources teachers liked and what they didn’t like, what worked for students and what resonated with them. It’s very exciting.” “The forestry sector, like all sectors at the moment, is short on staff, so we’re trying to find new ways to attract people to the sector ...” Secondary school students get up close to some of the hi-tech wood harvesting machinery. Quality Timber Suppliers Mitchell Bros are proud to support the Canterbury West Coast Wood Council - Bulk Grain, Silo & Cool Storage- Firewood & Shingle Supplies - Agricultural Spraying- Lime & Super Spreading - Precision Nitrogen Sowing - Swing-Lifting - Log, Hay & Straw, Grain, Stock & Container Cartage - l i , il l - i i l li - i l l i - i i - i i i i - i - i i - , , i , i PROUD TO SUPPORT THE CANTERBURY WEST COAST WOOD COUNCIL PROUD TO SUPPORT THE CANTERBURY PO Box 28, Line Road, Methven , i , • Ph: 03 302 8616 : E: : ili i l . . •• . ili i . .