Soli wood

Solid wood

It takes nearly three decades for a radiata pine tree to grow to maturity in the forest, so raw logs need to be processed with great care and accuracy to extract the maximum timber – and value – out of each one.

Sawmill Operators and Managers

Careers Information

What do they do?

Sawmill operators and managers work in sawmills processing wood. They operate sawmill machinery, log loaders and fork-lifts. They sort, stack and grade timber, trim timber to standard lengths, and record timber sized and grades. They understand timber characteristics as well as strict health and safety requirements.

Typical day 

Typically, an 8-hour day or shift work. A typical day on the job involves operating sawmill machinery, operating log loaders and forklifts, trimming timber, operating and monitoring kilns and treatment processing, grading timber and operating scanners.

Does this sound like you?

Study areas

• Sciences or Workshop Technologies

• Physical Education or Health

• Computing / ICT / Information Management


• Good at precision work

• Reasonable strength and fitness

• Good literacy and numeracy

• Good initiative/‘can do’ attitude

Helpful experience

• Analysing, researching or problem solving

• Making or fixing things

• Working with machinery

• Working with computers

Preferred work environments

• Inside (workshop or plant)

• Different places from time to time

How much could I earn?

Icn Money

Newly Qualified

$35k - $50k

Career Pathway

School Entry level jobs Advancing jobs Senior jobs

NCEA Level 2 is ideal

Sawmill Operator

Team Leader


Business Owner

Sawmill Manager

Unit/Achievement standards in schools Traineeship or Apprenticeship Higher learning Higher learning

What do we offer?

  • We partner with industry associations and members of your industry to help recruit and build talented employees. This support includes promoting careers in your industry, identifying potential learners, and encouraging work placements.
  • We also ensure your industry’s qualifications continue to meet needs, support industry events like conferences and regularly celebrate your learners’ success.
  • When apprentices enrol, we assign them a Competenz account manager. Our account managers understand the industry and the skills learners and businesses need.