The B.C. government is recognizing the first six graduates of an innovative Western Forest Products training program aimed at supporting the growing need for workers in the province's forest industry.
The logger training program is supported by WorkSafeBC, a government agency dedicated to promoting workplace health and safety, and focuses on worker safety, environmental awareness and the core skills necessary for entry into this demanding occupation
The forest company developed the course based on WorkSafeBC best practices. The course provides students with handbooks. Western Forest Products' standard operating procedures form the foundation for theory and hands-on experience in assessing and managing environmental hazards, effective communications, and safely working with specialized logging equipment and tools.
The first group of students graduated in November and includes:
- Trevor Boscoe, Chris Nelson and Dave Tonkin, of Campbell River.
- Jordan Lambert and Tavis Menzies, of Port McNeill.
- James Kenny of Woss.
Western Forest Products intends to run three programs per year in Logging Fundamentals in addition to other courses such as Faller Training. Next intake for the program is planned for spring 2013.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
"B.C. has more than 53,000 forestry workers, but over the next decade we anticipate 25,000 job openings as workers retire and new jobs are created through economic growth. That's why government has a comprehensive skills training plan in place - to ensure that B.C.'s forest industry is ready to meet the changing demands of the sector."
Don Demens, president, Western Forest Products -
"The new program will help instill the culture of safety with an understanding of hazard assessment and the techniques for safe and productive execution of the task. We are building a sustainable, globally competitive forest company. This training is a part of our strategic plan that includes investing in our people and supports government's plan to ensure that B.C. workers have the skills they need to maintain a competitive edge."
Here's how the government is supporting skills training in the forestry sector:
- A $1.9-billion investment in 2012-13 to support educational programs in British Columbia's post-secondary system. Institutions throughout B.C. work with provincial industries to ensure that students have access to programs at all levels.
- An investment of nearly $1 million to deliver the Forest Industry Readiness Skills Training program, which will train people to be log- or chip-truck drivers and heavy-equipment operators, and place them in permanent positions within the sector.
- An investment of $250,000 for a two-year First Nations Forestry Technician Training Program being offered at numerous colleges and universities throughout the province, to help First Nations students develop their skills and knowledge of the forest industry.
- Investments through the Labour Market Partnership program totalling more than $1 million to support the development of human resource strategies to address skills training shortages.
During the month of November, the B.C. government is asking for ideas from citizens on the topic of building a skilled workforce. You can contribute your ideas, comment or make a suggestion at: www.bcjobsplan.ca/
Forest Sector Strategy for B.C.: www.for.gov.bc.ca/mof/forestsectorstrategy/Forest_Strategy_WEB.PDF
WorkBC skills training programs: www.workbc.ca/Education-Training/Programs/Pages/Employment-Programs.aspx
Public Affairs Officer
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations
Western Forest Products