July 3rd, 2014

Investing in our Forestry industry

Mark Preece2

Creating a stand-alone forestry business unit with its own National Manager is one of the ways Competenz is giving the industry the training focus it needs to lift safety and productivity.

“Since we merged with the Forest Industry Training and Education Council (FITEC) last year we’ve put a lot of effort into listening to members of the industry, to find out how we can help you build your skills and businesses,” says new National Manager Mark Preece.

Dedicated National Manager role

“You’ve told us forestry differs in many ways from the engineering and manufacturing industries Competenz supports. Our new structure and priorities for 2014/2015 reflect these differences.

“My role is a good example of the focus we’re giving forestry. Only two of our 37 Competenz industries have their own National Manager, and forestry is one of them.”

Industry feedback has led to other improvements too which will help the 2,573 trainees currently working towards qualifications, and future learners, build their skills.

“We’ve increased our focus on the Central North Island and Northland regions, with dedicated Account Managers,” says Mark. “We’ve upped the number of contract assessors who support learners across the country by fifteen. And we’ve created a dedicated training administration role to help manage trainees’ learning.”

New forestry qualifications

Working closely with members of the industry, Competenz has made good progress in the past year to develop the industry’s new qualifications.

“When we launch the New Zealand Certificates later this year, they’ll be better suited to the current and future needs of employers and learners than the existing National Certificates,” says Mark. “For example, the core of each new qualification gives more weight to essential knowledge like health and safety. We’ve also added a supervisory qualification at Level 4.”

Support for training partners

Competenz plans to back up these new qualifications in the coming year with workshops to help forestry assessors build and refresh their skills and support to help companies build their training resources. The ITO will also continue to play an active role in important industry projects like the Independent Forestry Safety Review, reviewing the Approved Code of Practice, and introducing operator certification.

Mark and his team would like to thank everyone who gave feedback at focus groups and meetings, and filled in the Competenz survey.

“Industry feedback is key to everything we do. Over the next year we’ll increase our contact with your industry, making better use of opportunities like industry meetings to hear your views.”