Case Studies

The following case studies provide insight into the benefits that the National Workforce Development Fund has provided to enterprises in the forestry industry.

Many enterprises accessed the fund to provide their workers with formal skills recognition for the activities they already undertook in their current roles. Others accessed the fund to upskill workers, so they can progress into new roles with more responsibility.

A common theme throughout all of these case studies is that that managers and employees noticed an increase in employee skill levels and confidence as a result of the training. Employees were more prepared to take on new challenges and responsibility within the workplace. They felt the training revealed more opportunities for career progression.

nsw nwdfThe National Workforce Development Fund provided a renewed boost to the working life of Shane Rogers, a 25-year veteran of the forestry industry.

A Supervising Forest Officer with the Forestry Corporation of NSW, Mr Roger’s current job involves day-to-day management of native forest harvesting operations. He recently attained a Certificate IV in Forest Operations, thorough a combination of in person and webinar training.

“Completing this course has given me an improved level of confidence knowing that I have the skills and abilities to step up another level,” Mr Rogers said.

“It’s also given me an insight into the options available for further self-development. The recognition gained through this course has given me a sense of achievement and worth.”

Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Dale McLean said the program was improving the confidence and skill levels of participants and moving them towards higher levels of engagement.

“The majority of staff completing this course had never attempted any sort of tertiary training before, so this has not only exposed them to the options and possibilities, it has also proven to them that results can be achieved with a little effort,” Mr McLean said.

“This in turn has helped develop a sense of self-confidence which will ultimately assist the Forestry Corporation to move into a higher level of management of its harvesting contractors.”

Langs Building Supplies believed that the staff they employed had a strong skill set, however some employees did not have formal qualifications.

Lang’s used the National Workforce Development Fund to overcome this and were very pleased with the results.They engaged FITEC to deliver Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacture as well as Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design.

Neil Whinton, General Manager of Fabrication at Lang’s felt there was appropriate recognition of the employees existing skills and knowledge and were very satisfied with the FITEC trainer’s knowledge and training abilities.

Even by the midpoint stage of training it was “nice to see formal recognition in the skills they currently have, which has boosted morale across the site” Mr Whinton said.This improvement in staff morale across the site was an added bonus of undertaking NWDF training.

qld nwdfNorthside Trusses and Frames employee, Reggie Roache, provides an example of how Federal Government funding can open up opportunities for training and productivity gains.

An industry veteran of 22 years, Mr Roache has worked for Northside Trusses and Frames since 2009. Despite his experience, undertaking the new qualification has proven of enormous benefit, both to the company and to Mr Roache personally.

Mr Roache was able to achieve a Certificate IV in Timber Trusses and Frame Design via flexible learning and he felt that the new training had revealed options for him.

“I now have more confidence to utilise my knowledge in my current role and take on more challenging projects”, Mr Roache said.

The training has been so beneficial that Mr Roache is now considering pursuing more.

“With technology and industry standards changing constantly, I’ll continue with on-the-job training and any relevant course in timber structure, design and engineering. I am aiming to continue in my current role as a valuable team member, while enjoying the challenge and variety that detailing offers”.

Mr Roache works in manufacturing detail and design, which involves the preparation and completion of drawings to customer specifications.

Binders Building Supplies, based in the rural South Australian town of Renmark, took advantage of the National Workforce Development Fund to develop the potential of its employees and strengthen the business.

With assistance from ForestWorks, Binder’s was able to identify and address skills requirements within its workforce. Funding through the NWDF program has been used to establish on-site training at this important regional employer, which has tripled its size over the past five years.

Binder’s had always acknowledged that people are a key asset of the business. At present, Binders have a number of employees enrolled in the on-site training program – completing Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacturing.

“We believe this program will have many benefits. In particular, it will increase the confidence of our workers. Their new skills will be able to be applied in various areas of the business, for example in Occupational Health and Safety, which is really important for us.”

tas nwdf

Matt McCormick accessed the National Workforce Development Fund to add an extra string to his bow. A Forest Operations Supervisor who started his career with Forestry Tasmania 12 years ago, Mr McCormick is completing a Diploma of Forests and Forestry Operations, mostly through on-the job assessment.

“I felt like I had been building up valuable experiences and knowledge and this is a formal way of being recognised for those skills,” Mr McCormick said.

“It felt like a natural progression in my career, giving me formal qualifications to find positions that fit my knowledge and skills.

“The qualification will allow me to work toward a Forest Practices Officer role.

“The process has been relatively smooth and rewarding. By achieving nationally recognized Units of Competence for work that I have mostly undertaken in my roles so far, I finally feel a sense of professional achievement.”

Dean Tuson, RTO Manager at Forestry Tasmania, said the NWDF was a win for employers too, by allowing them to reward employees with a qualification and a clear path of career progression.

“It gives learners the qualifications they can take elsewhere that will be recognised,” Mr Tuson noted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAKenny Cirkel’s dream of one day working as a state manager is one step closer after completing a Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacture. He completed this training on-the-job, as part of the National Workforce Development Fund.

The Trainee Estimator/Detailer has spent the last six years working at Becks Timber in Launceston, Tasmania, and he believes the new skills he has gained are essential to his future career development.

“I learn something new every day,” Mr Cirkel said.

“I want to learn as much as I can. Doing this qualification furthers what I want to do and helps me to grow.”

It’s a view shared by his employer.

“This training supports the company in offering a career pathway and provides employees with nationally recognised and transportable qualifications in the industry that they love,” Becks Timber HR Manager Georgie Jacobson said.

The company, which has been operating for more than 30 years, recently had five of their 23 employees undergo training through the National Workforce Development Fund.

“This program will help develop people already in the industry and ensure that the best of the best are encouraged to remain in the industry,” Mr Jacobson said.

“It also demonstrates a career path — not just a job — to participants.”

The company’s Estimating Detailing Manager Reuben Borst agrees.

Mr Borst said he received a real confidence boost after studying a Diploma of Truss and Frame Design through the program.

“It reinforces that we actually know that what we are doing is correct,” Mr Borst said.

“This confidence projects to customers, contractors and other staff members.”

West Coast Timbers is a pine and hardwood sawmill that has operated for 13 years in Binningup, Western Australia. West Coast Timber accessed the National Workforce Development Fund for eight of their staff.

The eight staff completed a Certificate III in Sawmilling and Processing, which was delivered on-site by Forest Industry Training Services.

The company said the training provided a demonstrated boost to skill levels and productivity at the local enterprise.

Mill operators John Knapton and Lerlene Luff said the training has delivered real benefits to their small business.

“The training has made the employees more aware of their actions and responsibilities,” they said.

Greensill Bros Pty Ltd is a family business that has been operating in the harvesting and haulage industry in the Grafton area for 60 years. The company employs 80 people and operates 30 trucks and 8 logging crews. It recently decided to offer its logging crew supervisors the opportunity to improve their knowledge and formally recognise their existing skills via a certificate IV or diploma level qualification package, delivered on-job.

The company engaged McLeod Training Organisation, a well-respected registered training provider, and obtained funding assistance from the National Workforce Development Fund (NWDF).

The program was a success, with four employees gaining a Certificate IV in Forest Operations and seven supervisors gaining a Diploma in Forests and Forest Products.

One of the logging crew supervisors on the program was 62-year-old Phil Graham. Phil has worked with the company for many years and has appreciated the opportunity to have his knowledge and skills formally recognised. He is now looking to transition from the rigours of harvesting and aspires to become an independent contract trainer and assessor to the forest industry.

As Phil says, “My current skills are now recognised with a formal qualification, which gives me confidence to move forward with a lifestyle and career change”.

Nannup Mill was established in 1926 as the Kauri Timber Company. Over the past 90 years it has evolved into the mill now operated by Nannup timber Processing Pty Ltd. The mill is designed to mill Jarrah (Eucalyptus Marginata) which is harvested from Western Australia’s state managed forests.
This general purpose hardwood is highly sought after as a structural timber.

As they are in the business of sawmilling and processing, Nannup Timber Processing Pty Ltd wanted to upskill their labour force and used the National Workforce Development Fund to get a large number of employees qualified with a Certificate III in Sawmilling and Processing.

Although they find employee performance difficult to measure, Nannup felt that their employees were more competent in their duties and that this was reflected in customer satisfaction.

Vince Corlett, General Manager of Nannup Timber Processing was happy with FITS Training Service as their choice of RTO and felt that they worked well with the employees, recognising their current skills and providing flexibility around operational workloads.

TABMA is an industry association with offices throughout Australia. As part of this particular National Workforce Development Fund project, TABMA had 10 new workers approved to undertake training.

One of these workers was Timothy Facoory. Timothy undertook the Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design.

“It gave me industry recognition for my current skills,” said Mr Facoory who has worked in the industry for over 12 years. “This training is something the industry has needed for a long time,” he went on to say.

Since completing the Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design, Mr Facoory has gone on to undertake Certificate IV in Workplace Health and Safety and is hoping to “move into a challenging role where I can utilize the skills I have attained.”

Alicia Oelkers, Operations Manager for TABMA believes the National Workforce Development Fund will benefit their business by “ensuring workers in the timber industry are up-skilled resulting in better productivity and retention rates.”

MiTek have existed in the truss and frame industry for over 50 years and whilst they do not actually manufacture trusses, they concentrate on making sure that their fabricators have the very best technology and systems to enable them to manufacture roof and floor trusses along with wall frames, efficiently and accurately, while maintaining high standards of quality and service.

To further develop the skills of their employees, MiTek supported 6 learners through their Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame Design under the National Workforce Development Fund program.

Wayne Hondow, State Manager for Queensland and Northern Territory agreed that the training organization, FITEC were effective in delivering this training so that it integrated into the organization and improved employees work practices.

Wayne noted that the employees’ performance had improved after the completion of their Diplomas.

McKay Timber have been extremely pleased with the National Workforce Development Fund. In this project they were able to put three employees through Certificate III and Diploma level training.

Damian Coad undertook a Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and has now become second in charge of the timber merchandising division of the company.

Jason Stephens undertook a Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame Design and he has now learnt how to consider the whole supply chain in his designs for trusses and frames.

Bradley Thomas also undertook a Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame Design and has made a project presentation to company directors which has not only resulted in the project going ahead, but will make a difference to the company in the future.

These three learners achieved their work requirement in an environment where workload had increased dramatically due to the collapse of two other Tasmanian truss suppliers.

“The training has been good for the learners and hopefully we can do more training in the future. I would put others through this training if the opportunity arose” said Glenn Britton, Trade Sales Manager at McKay Timber.

MCM Frame and Truss Pty Ltd is a family business with a building background. They were successful in securing approval for two training places.

Mark Hull, Owner and Managing Director of MCM, said participation in the National Workforce Development Fund had resulted in improvements to their employee’s skills and work practices. It had also led to improvements in staff retention and company productivity whilst causing minimal disruptions to normal work practices.

He said the organisation was very satisfied with their involvement in the program overall and thought their trainer was very good. “He provided an excellent training program” Mr Hull said.

Tony Lohf, a new employee of Concrete World, wanted to gain extra skills so he completed a Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Manufacture, as part of the National Workforce Development Fund.

Neil Anderson, Office Manager at Concrete World, said he noticed improvement in Tony’s performance and was impressed with the training which was flexible and effectively integrated into their organisation.

Allied Timber Products (ATP) identified the need to assist two of their workers to gain skills recognition in Sawmilling and Processing, at Certificate III level. These workers held line manager positions within ATP but had no formal qualifications.  ATP had identified the need to have their staff formally trained and believed it would increase their organisation’s productivity and efficiency into the future.

TAFE Riverina was engaged as the training provider and Blair Watson, State Manager for ATP felt that the training provided met their expectations and it caused minimal disruptions to normal work practices.

Blair was felt that the program that had resulted in improvement to their employee’s skills and work practices. This in turn has led to improvements in productivity and staff retention.

Sly Bros Pty Ltd had thirteen employees complete training across three qualifications as part of the National Workforce Development Fund program. Seven employees completed the Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacture, four employees completed the Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design and two employees completed the Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Manufacture.

David Sly, Managing Director of Sly Bros was very satisfied with FITEC as the training provider. He thought the training had enough flexibility, that appropriate recognition of existing knowledge and skills was recognised. He also thought the trainers possessed good knowledge and experience of the industry.

Since completing the training, David has indicated that there has been a noticeable change in company productivity and an improvement in the employees’ performance.

stronach timber

Cheyane Ackroyd wanted to improve his skills and acquire a formal qualification. The National Workforce Development Fund provided the opportunity for Stronach Timbers to facilitate this formal learning process.

“The National Workforce Development Fund is helping our business to provide training that improves the skills of our employees and our business” said Michael Brill, Manager and Owner.

Unfortunately, Stronach Timbers went into receivership and Cheyane left the company, and the NWDF project was withdrawn.

Key Building Components were successful in having one of their employees complete a Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design as part of the National Workforce Development Fund.

Colin Scharfenberg, Operations Manager said they had noticed an improvement in performance by employees who had undergone the training, conducted by FITEC.

Independent Timber Supplies were successful in obtaining approval for 7 existing workers to undertake Certificate IV training; 5 in Frontline Management and 2 in Training & Assessment.

Four learners successfully completed training to midpoint, before withdrawing due to time pressures and project deadlines.

Australian Solar Timbers are manufacturers of hardwood timber flooring with a rich Australian history dating back to 1919.  They saw the opportunity to upskill some of their employees under the National Workforce Development Fund and partnered with TAFE Northcoast as their training organisation.

Five workers completed a Certificate III in Sawmilling and Processing.

Coastal Timbers is a small timber company located in Coffs Harbour. Their company vision for human resource development is “to provide a safe and enjoyable workplace that encourages learning and initiative”. In order to help the business achieve its vision, Glenn Poole, Director, and Terry Poole, Manager, prepared a skills development plan and sought the services of Timber Training Creswick to help the business address some evident skills gaps.

Timber drying, grading and sales are activities Coastal Timbers are engaged in and plan to carry on in the future, however they were lacking in formal qualifications in these areas.

It was decided to put in a NWDF application to allow both Glenn and Terry to undertake a Certificate IV in Timber Processing with Timber Training Creswick to achieve national recognition for their skills.

The benefits they aimed to achieve by undertaking the NWDF supported training included:

  • Improve production and output
  • Improve quality of end product with reduced timber degrade from the drying process
  • Better understand timber technology and its impacts on timber quality
  • Skills recognition for existing skills
  • Improve response to accident/emergency situation.

“I was really happy with the flexibility and quality of the training delivered by Timber Training Creswick. I feel that all the benefits we hoped to achieve have been realised” said Terry.

With harvesting operations located across the South West of West Australia, Softwood Logging Services Pty Ltd (SLS) is a leader in forestry products and services to both the domestic and international export markets. In operation for 29 years, SLS now employs 70 staff.

The training program established by SLS, with NWDF support, was designed to meet contractual obligations, while capitalising on development opportunities. The ability to ensure all employees hold the underpinning skills for their work activities is vital to their workplace.

A partnership with Transition Learning enabled 13 learners to complete a Certificate III in Harvesting and Haulage under this project.

Andrew Rodgers, General Manager of SLS said “we have found that as a result of this program, our team is working together for a common cause, increasing organisational effectiveness.

Barry Istuk is one of those learners who has realised the benefits of his NWDF supported training. Barry worked his way up from a mobile plant operator into a supervisory role. This program consolidated his practical experience in a qualification.

After completing has qualification Barry said “I feel a lot more confident about my job and the decisions I am making on a daily basis. I now have a qualification to support my experience”.

The training program has lifted the baseline competency levels of SLS, which has had a positive effect on team morale, company culture and productivity.

Located at Kelso, near Bathurst in Central West NSW, The Truss and Frame Factory design and manufacture a full range of prefabricated timber products specifically tailored to builders’ unique requirements.

The Truss and Frame Factory saw the opportunity to enrol two employees in Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacture, with assistance from the NWDF.

One of these employees, Alex Campion had been working for The Truss and Frame Factory for two and a half years when he enrolled in the Certificate III. He said the training “will improve my knowledge of the industry”.

As an employer, The Truss and Frame Factory was happy with the training delivered by Timber Training Creswick and were satisfied overall with the NWDF program.

Chris Stafford, Estimator of The Truss and Frame Factory, said “the employees who have undertaken this training now have a broader view of the industry”.

McKay Timber is a major manufacturer and supplier of timber to the Tasmanian building and joinery market. Operating across multiple sites and employing over 100 people, McKay Timber recognises the benefits of up-skilling their employees.

After enrolling three employees in the first round of the NWDF, McKay Timber decided to support their Truss Plant Production Manager, Ricky Wiggins, to complete a Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design as part of the second round.

Partnering with Timber Training Creswick allowed Ricky to receive all the support he required to successfully complete the Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design.

Ricky was the Production Manager in the Truss Plant, but since finishing his training he has been promoted to Production Manager for the whole of McKay’s Glenorchy operation.

The training provided him with the ability to take a strategic approach in production planning, as well as providing him with the confidence to enable him to secure the promotion.