This project aims to provide support to the forest and wood products industry in north-east NSW impacted by the black summer bushfires of 2019-2020.

One of the biggest challenges for both harvesting and sawmilling operations in the area is attracting and retaining labour. Registered Training Organisations (RTO) also find it difficult to deliver training for the industry, as students are spread over broad and remote geographic locations, meaning smaller class sizes. Expensive, sometimes site-specific, machinery also creates a barrier to training delivery for RTOs.

To help industry in the region tackle these challenges and recover from bushfires and flooding, ForestWorks is developing a new online accredited training program for some of the core units of competency used to train employees for the forest and wood products industry. This will support training and induction processes, promoting better retention of workers. It will also ultimately lead to a better skilled and more productive workforce and promote a culture of lifelong learning.

As part of stage 1 of the project, consultation has taken place to identify the following units for inclusion in the training program:

  • FWPCOR2208 Communicate and interact effectively in the forest and wood products industry
  • FWPCOR2210 Follow workplace health and safety policies and procedures in forest and wood products operations,
  • FWPCOR2211 Develop knowledge of the forest and wood products industry

The online training program will be primarily aimed at workers who are new to the industry and existing staff who could benefit from additional training. The identified units provide skills used across the entire industry, so they are relevant to most potential learners.

The online course will be developed throughout 2023, to be completed by December.

Once completed, the training program will be available to the entire forestry industry, supporting with training needs around the country.

Note: This project was initially pitched to support skills in innovation. However, circumstances within the industry have changed since the project’s inception. Rain and flooding have also impacted north-east NSW in recent years, seeing workers leave the forest and wood products industry. The proposal was therefore revised in 2022 to focus on supporting workers to stay in the industry.

The project was jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund.