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Clarky's Comment

Wood Matters commenced in August 2008. This is the 112th edition and as I resign as CEO of PF Olsen at the end of September a good opportunity to reflect on my forestry career to date.

It is a fantastic industry we work in. It is large, diverse, challenging yet extremely rewarding. Who would not want to have a career in an industry that simultaneously:

  • offers well-paid jobs to a wide spectrum of skill sets with career advancement opportunities;

  • is a major contributor to national GDP and exports;

  • is environmentally positive;

  • is always evolving to take up new technologies and get more productive and efficient.

What does bother me is that not many of our young school leavers know much about the industry. Reliance on tabloid-style media and 30-second TV sound bites reporting negative stories about our industry is hardly the way to learn about forestry career opportunities.

Recent initiatives by NZ Forest Owners Association, and by AFPA in Australia are starting to tell the positive stories about the forest industry. Innovatek has become active in boosting knowledge and interest in the use of engineered wood in multistory residential and commercial construction. For those not already linked-in here is the URL for a series of TV programmes put together by NZFOA in New Zealand. http://ondemand.facetv.co.nz/category.php?cat=Forest-Call They can also be viewed on Sky TV On-Demand. These are a great resource for school career advisors and students that show interest in the primary sectors. The forest industry is also an early mover supporting the new Food and Fibre Careers Experience Centre being set up on 8 ha of land adjacent to Mt Albert Grammar School in Auckland.

These and other careers and training initiatives supported in NZ by the Forest Levy Trust, WIDE Trust, Mike Pero Careers Coach, Whenua Kura, Te Uru Rakau, the Gisborne Generation Programme and individual forestry and wood processing companies will make a big difference.

But my plea to all Wood Matters readers is that you show your enthusiasm for the forestry sector in some way to our young and provide guidance to how they can learn about and start a career in forestry or wood processing.