Course offers a path into forestry

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JOHN.COSGROVE@nullcluthaleader.co.nz

First day jitters are sometimes to be expected for new course attendees but the staff at Tokomairiro Training in Milton turned on the welcome as they greeted 12 new pupils for their signature forestry pathways course last week.

Operated under the accreditation of Tokomairiro High School and governed by the school’s board of trustees, Tokomairiro Training offers its successful forestry pathways course for senior pupils still enrolled in school.

School principal Glenis Sim said the course was popular as it offered pupils a chance to look over the forestry industry as a whole.

“They learn about the seeds, planting right through to harvesting, all while earning NCEA credits and life skills,” Mrs Sim said.

“This year we have 12 students coming from secondary schools around the region and Dunedin.”

She said she was happy with the success of the first course Tokomairiro Training ran last year after all eight pupils gained employment.

“Some are working at the ground level while others are moving into management and several have also undertaken more study to further their careers,” she said.

“The course is partially funded this year by the Provincial Growth Fund, several regional forestry companies, the Otago Community Trust and Johnson Forestry services.’’

Forestry industry trainer Alistair McKenzie said it was pleasing to see all of last year’s pupils gain employment, but that was not the ultimate goal of the course.

“The training is focused on the forestry and farming industries, with unit standards offered in core generic, pre-employment and workplace health and safety.

“These skills are transferable and are a necessity for any form of employment sought by students based in the outdoors,’’ Mr McKenzie said.

“Here they get to know what makes up the industry and how it can help them for future careers in forestry.”

Jack Clark, of Bayfield High School, said he was hoping the two-day-a-week course would be a good experience for him.

Ben Mason, of Kavanagh College, said he hoped to be able to go on to polytechnic to study arboriculture.

Paikea Haua-Bartlett, also of Kavanagh College, said he would like to get to know the forestry industry with a view to a possible career choice.