Southern Apprentice of the Year awarded

SiteAdminAwards, SWC

Wood Council’s across New Zealand this year have had to cancel their annual awards programmes. Measures to tackle the COVID-19 virus and the enforced lockdown of forestry and wood products operations has meant that unfortunately, annual regional celebrations to recognise business and training success have had to be put forward to 2021. It’s been a huge disappointment to all, particularly for those that have stood out over this last year and have put the time and effort into pulling together nominations for the myriad of major annual awards on offer. The Southern Wood Council (SWC) was one of many that … Read More

SWC 2020 Forestry Awards: Event has been cancelled

SiteAdminAwards, SWC

The SWC 2020 Forestry Awards has been cancelled. This decision was made after consultation with Members and is due to recent changes in travel policies across various organisations and the directive made by the NZ Government on Thursday 19 March. Due to the current and unprecedented conditions around COVID-19, the Prime Minister’s announcement on banning all meetings indoors in New Zealand to under 100 people and Health directives given on “social distancing”, the decision was made reluctantly on Tuesday 17 March to cancel this year’s SWC Forestry Training Awards that were scheduled to run on the evening of Friday 8 … Read More

Scott Thomas – multi-million dollar machine operator

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Scott Thomas is a young man with an exciting future. Aged just 21, he is currently working for Gamble Forest Harvesting in a fully mechanised 8-man hauler crew. Scott has found his passion, and that is driving big harvesting machines. I caught up with Scott in Flagstaff Forest, part of the City Forests estate high above Dunedin, during a visit with Kevin Marsh, City Forest’s harvesting and OSH coordinator. Here the crew was operating at full tilt, with a daily harvest of 500-600 tonnes of second-rotation radiata pine. This equates to 18-20 truckloads of logs leaving the skid site every … Read More

Logging machinery attract students

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Mike Hurring Logging, the largest harvesting contractor in the Otago and Southland region, held an open day on Saturday 2nd June to promote forestry as a future career choice to local school students and their families. Mike brought back an impressive array of logging machinery from the bush to display to the 200 odd people who attended. There were harvesting machines, skidders, diggers and new state of the art production thinning monsters that were on show. People could get up close and personal with machines that no one can usually get within 100 metres of. Some took the opportunity to … Read More

2018 SWC Forest Products Scholarship

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University of Canterbury forestry student picks up major award A University of Canterbury forestry student has just received top forest industry honours with a major scholarship being awarded. This year’s Southern Wood Council (SWC) Scholarship has been awarded to Rob Sheppard, a Bachelor of Forestry Science student, studying at the University of Canterbury, Christchurch. Rob, a mature student, had worked extensively in agriculture and tourism since leaving school. As well as an outdoors background including guiding (canoeing, horse trekking and hiking), instructing and animal control he also has family interests in both sawmilling and farming. Rob was also employed by … Read More

MEDIA RELEASE: Robotics opportunities in forestry being explored

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MEDIA RELEASE 20 February 2018 Robotics opportunities in forestry being explored Forest safety, improving productivity and getting workers off the felling site has been a major push for forestry managers, forest owners, logging contractors and equipment suppliers to modify their wood harvesting operations over the last few years. Another major driver to increased mechanisation has been the skilled machine operator shortages that many forestry companies are now currently facing. The ultimate goal of the industry is to have “no worker on the slope, or no hand on the chainsaw”. Technology development and the pace of change over the last couple … Read More

New training programme for Southern harvesting crews

SiteAdminSWC

Skills shortages and attracting new entrants into harvesting operations is a major issue within the forestry industry right now. It’s been this way for some time and it’s not unique to any one region. In fact, the same issue is being grappled with in every other country with an active forest industry. Harvesting crews are continually being challenged by the lack of young skilled people available to work in rural areas. To address the issue, some forestry companies and contractors are now working alongside some of the technology institutes. The aim is get younger people trained in practical operating skills, … Read More

Spotlight: Working in Forestry

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In this video produced by Southland Youth Futures, a local forestry company, Rayonier/Matarikia, outline the variety of roles that are available to those looking to work within the forestry industry. For more detailed information on the NZ forestry industry, training, career options and job opportunities, visit; Competenz (NZ Industry Training Organisation) – Harvesting Careers and/or Silviculture Careers University of Canterbury – School of Forestry Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology – Department of Forestry and Resource Management