8 December 2022

Snowy Valleys timber industry to benefit from fee-free training

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LOGGING ON: A group of Snowies locals prepares for chainsaw training as part of a unique training partnership between TAFE NSW and ForestWorks.

TAFE NSW Tumut is stepping up and into the breach to deliver the practical skills to help the region’s timber industry recover from the Black Summer bushfires.

As part of a unique partnership with industry group ForestWorks, they’re offering fee-free training which will see more than 400 forest and timber workers training in areas including chainsaw operation, chain of responsibility and fatigue management, working at heights and construction induction (white card).

The program runs until 30 June, 2023.

It comes as the local industry continues to recover from the disastrous 2019-2020 bushfires, which devastated more than a third of the region’s commercial forestry plantation area.

Timber industry not-for-profit group ForestWorks approached TAFE NSW to deliver the training after securing funding under the NSW Government’s Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, aimed at helping employees impacted by the bushfires to upskill or reskill.

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The agreement with TAFE NSW covers 40 businesses and more than 400 workers who operate in the Snowy Valley and adjoining local government area, with training opportunities provided in Tumut, Tumbarumba and Bombala.

Forestry Corporation of NSW, which manages state forests in NSW, is one of many organisations to have benefited from the training.

The Snowy region’s harvesting and roading manager, Campbell Sanderson said Forestry Corporation had worked closely with TAFE NSW to ensure industries’ training needs were met.

“It’s been a significant and much-needed boost for the local forest and timber industry, as it’s given us an opportunity to train workers with essential skills, across the value chain, post the devastating Black Summer bushfires,” Mr Sanderson said.

“The funding and focus on industry specific training has filled a significant training gap and built stronger relationships and networks with training service providers. The program has been strongly supported and clearly demonstrates the need to continue investing in and building skills across our industry and communities.”

Short courses being delivered as part of the project include plantation forest operations, chainsaw operations, white card, working at heights, chain of responsibility, fatigue management, forklift, civil construction, machinery operations and first aid.

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Full qualifications include a Certificate IV in Work, Health and Safety, Certificate IV in Leadership Management and a Certificate III in Water Operations.

TAFE NSW Senior Project Officer Margaret Middleton said TAFE NSW had worked closely with industry to tailor courses to the changing needs of employees.

“The Snowy Valleys economy is so tied to the timber industry that it was disproportionately impacted by the Black Summer bushfires,” Ms Middleton said.

“TAFE NSW is proud to be supporting local communities by giving impacted workers the hands-on, practical skills to change careers or upskill in their current career.”

“The courses have been extremely well received by students and industry, and we look forward to supporting the timber industry well into the future.”

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