Logging training centre a first for NZ

Passionate about the logging industry and concerned about its future led Mike Hurring to establish a “first of its kind” dedicated training facility in Balclutha, Otago, New Zealand for those interested in making a career in the industry. Mike sees the facility, which is an arm of his business Mike Hurring Logging as having benefits for not only his company but for companies all around the country.

“It was recently revealed that the Otago industry will need another 40 logging crews within the next 6 years, which means we need people trained now”, Mike said. And what are the requirements to enrol? “All I ask is that they can get out of bed in the morning, be drug free and want to work” says Mike.

With a lot of changes in the industry in recent years and a serious lack of trained people, the industry has had a lot of negative publicity and putting a lot of people off, so Mike decided to develop a facility to attract people to the industry, ensure they have the right skills and keep them in forestry, which has become much more complex and safety focused.

Having just begun a long term thinning contract in South Otago and knowing there was a strong possibility of wheeled harvesters being needed in the future he has purchased the first John Deere wheeled harvester in New Zealand. The John Deere E-series simulator has also been purchased by Mike and is the perfect training tool for the wheeled harvester and forwarder will lead to having more skilled operators. “We did this with a view that it could provide training for other crews as well as our own. This has been set up in a container so that it can be moved.”

Mike’s facility is situated on the outskirts of Balclutha and can accommodate up to 10 people for each 5 week course under the guidance of two tutors. The centre’s 12ha property also allows hands-on experience on a loader, harvester, forwarder and a processor. Chainsaw and cable logging training will also be given and a workshop where machine and wore rope maintenance is taught is also on site. Successful participants will leave the course with a forestry entry qualification.

The centre is also available for other contractors who may want their staff upskilled. Interest has been shown from as far away as Australia. The training facility already has some signed up for the next 5 week course, the last to be run before Christmas. Those who wish to participate can contact Mike Hurring Logging on Tel +64 3 419 0101.

Source: Otago Daily Times

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