September 3rd, 2013

Forest & Wood Award Finalists - Forestry

Modern Apprentice of the Year Nominations
Lawrence Rehutai – Crew Manager – UBQ Ltd
Growing up in a bush town as he did, it’s not surprising that Lawrence Rehutai ended up in forestry.  As a Crew Manager, Lawrence takes responsibility for daily management, health and safety, and day-to-day planning. 

While gaining a qualification has been important for him in itself, Lawrence also values what he has learnt about effective communication within the team.  While the training sometimes involved forgoing income or losing precious weekend time to attend courses, Lawrence says it was all worth it to ensure a better future.  He’s now aiming for a future goal of becoming a forest supervisor.  ‘That’s the ultimate goal.’  

Cameron Gunn – Forestry Worker – GJ Sole Transport
At age 19, Cameron Gunn has a lot on his plate.  Recently promoted to Leading Hand, this capable young man also has a lot to offer.  As his employer sees it, his ability to take on any task, learn it and perform it to an extremely high standard, then teach others has make Cameron a highly valued member of the team.  Cameron’s been on the forestry scene since he was a young child.  Accompanying his father in his logging truck for many years gave Cameron a taste for action. 

‘Seeing the fallers up on the hill felling trees, it looked like real fun…like I wanted to do it!’  He was lucky to secure some forestry work during school holidays.  Such was the positive experience that Cameron’s enthusiasm for the industry was further fuelled.   ‘When they offered me a full time job, I just took it.’  

Vincent Collins – Scaler Yardman – C3 Picton
Vincent had never used a chainsaw in his life but when his boss took a chance in employing him, it certainly paid off.  He’s shown himself to be a keen worker and a willing learner.  Taking to his apprenticeship with enthusiasm, Vincent has acquired a lot of valuable skills including computer skills and the ability to work under pressure.  And just as Vincent’s skill and knowledge have grown, so too has his confidence.  He regularly achieves above average results in the company’s auditing program. 

Now he’d like to progress further in the industry and isn’t afraid of working towards additional qualifications.  ‘I’d say if you’re a hard worker and keen to do the work, you’ll go far.’  

Trainee of the Year Nominations
Nathan Taylor – Forestry Worker, Health and Safety Coordinator, Wood Contracting Being busy is important to Nathan Taylor.  As well as working in a crew every day, Nathan is in charge of coordinating wood flow, and is involved in environmental and compliance management. 

If that’s not enough, Nathan has taken on significant duties around Health and Safety, an area he feels passionate about.   Nathan’s desire to develop himself and his skills has meant training has always been important.  Having completed his Level 3 Occupational Health and Safety Certificate several years ago and his First Line Management Level 4 last year, Nathan has been keen to apply his learning in the workplace. 

His ability to read, process and present data to his colleagues has contributed to greater efficiencies and better communication of risks.  ‘I’ve found graphs are a pretty good way of getting information across to the guys in the crew.  Give them a graph showing where most incidents are – tree felling, breaking out, or around certain machines – it gives you the ability to fix things.’

John Strachan – Head of Thinning Operations, Johnson Forestry Services
From city boy with a love of the great outdoors to running one of the most experienced silviculture crews in Otago, John Strachan has come a long way in the past 15 years.  The variety of work is something John loves about working in silviculture and he’s never turned down a training opportunity yet. 

Not only has his training given him an understanding of the forestry industry as a whole and increased his productivity out on the hill, but it has also given him a taste for training others.  ‘One of the biggest things I’d like to do in the medium term is gain my trainer-assessor qualifications.  I do really enjoy working with guys and training them, helping out new guys and giving a bit of guidance.’  

Nukumai Jensen – Tree Faller – Raywood Contracting
Nukumai Jensen considers himself to be a Jack of all trades.  For that reason he’s always been keen on learning new skills, and after 23 years working in forestry, he’s completed his fair share of training.  As training methods have changed over the years, Nukumai has had to adapt. 

‘When I first started, training was more hands-on and oral so at the time my writing was terrible.  Now with so much emphasis on paperwork, my writing has improved out of sight.  In fact so much so I’ve been given the privilege of becoming the health and safety champion for our crew and I’m basically doing all the paperwork for the meetings.’ 

His crew has been incident and accident free for two years.  Nukumai has set a few goals for himself, one of which is to enter Logger of the Year.  But for now, he’s just focused on getting his next round of training completed.  

Training Company of the Year Nominations
Kimberly Contractors – Marija and Gary Dalziel
Marija Dalziel is a force to be reckoned with when it comes to training.  In her quest to up-skill her crew, she’s taken on all doubters, including her husband, and now has 92% of employees engaged in some form of training.  But her zeal and enthusiasm is firmly based on practical considerations. 

‘If I’ve got someone who has an accident and they’re not qualified to be doing that job, it does rebound back on us.’  Marija sets a generous budget every year for training and looks on it as an investment – even for the younger ones who are likely to move on to other companies. 

Even so, Marija finds she still has to ‘sell’ the benefits of training especially to those seasoned operators that have years of hands-on experience.  One way she has of persuading staff is by appealing to them as fathers.  ‘You’re sending a really good message to your children – you’re never too old to learn.’  

Volcanic Plateau Logging – Julie and Steven Yeoman
Volcanic Plateau Logging has a very low staff turnover and it’s easy to see why.  All 26 employees, including the company’s directors are in training.  Annual training plans are important to Julie Yeoman who, with her husband Steven and brother-in-law Vincent, runs the Taupo-based logging operation.  It’s helped that there’s support at the top. 

With both Steven and Vincent working in the crew and in training themselves, employees see training as an integral part of the job.  ‘There are guys at Level 1 through to completing their National Certificate.  Our foreman is just about running out of National Certificates to complete.’  And the company is reaping the benefits with a top health and safety record and, in the last 12 months, achieving top results within the Timberlands environment.  

Mangoihe Logging – Raymond McDougall
Providing opportunities to their workers is important for Mangoihe Logging and training is seen as money well spent.  Raymond McDougall, one of the company’s Directors sees it as a two-way street.  ‘I tell the guys that if you give me 100%, I’ll give you 100% back.  It’s a partnership.’  He believes it’s important to recognise all of the crew’s training achievements, whether it’s with a meat voucher, a little bit of extra in the pay packet, or by organising a fishing charter for them. 

‘My personal view is the guys need other people to know they’ve done their hard yards – they’ve achieved it and good on them.’  There’s a lot to celebrate in the company with every employees, except two new recruits, currently signed up to training programmes.