Forestry opportunities offered to school students

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A group of young foresters put their best foot forward at Otago’s annual Careers Expo that ran in the town hall on Thursday 13 June.  Over 2000 secondary school students from about the region attended the event, with the purpose being to showcase future employment and career opportunities open to them.

An incredible effort from the Southern Wood Council, member companies and other forestry and contracting businesses who had planned the stand in the lead up to the event meant that the forestry collective, which took up at least two stands, had the largest, most interactive, and one of the most popular stands at the Expo.

Young foresters spoke passionately about the industry to interested students and shared their personal forestry stories and advice on potential career paths.  In addition to brand new resources and displays provided by the Forest Owners Association, an interactive logging simulator from Mike Hurring Logging was a major drawcard to the stand, as were piled logs where a phone app could be used by students to determine their volume.  High vis vests, wilding pines, native and exotic trees, chainsaws and other forestry equipment displayed throughout the stand completed the look that made the display really stand out from the 50 plus others.  

The other major drawcard this year was a just completed www.forestrycareers.nz website (displayed via computer and tv on the stand) that proved popular for many of the students who were exploring future career paths, available scholarships, the diversity of jobs available and the earnings in a variety of occupations within the industry.  In addition to local forestry companies, representatives from the new training course, Tokomairiro Training, were also on hand to discuss options for local school students in their course. 

Feedback from students along with careers advisers was overwhelmingly positive. What largely piqued their interest was the ability to work outdoors, staying away from a typical office 9-5 job, the array of new technology that now formed an integral part of the industry and the ability to be working out in nature.  Nearly all of the students the group spoke to, appreciated New Zealand’s unique landscapes and the ability to make parts of these landscapes their places of work, especially given that a large portion of the population doesn’t get the chance to make the forest their worksite!

All in all, this was a hugely successful event and one the Southern Wood Council along with local forestry companies plan on building on next year.  The group acknowledges the support and enthusiasm of all the companies involved; City Forests, Wenita Forest Products, Mike Hurring Logging, Matariki/Rayonier, Venture Forestry, Competenz, Tokomairiro Training and Johnson Forestry Services.