Hands-on experiences a hit with students

Friday 9 Nov 2018

Members of the Southern North Island Wood Council joined forces to host two Wairarapa school students for a week of the last school holidays. The aim was to give the students some hands-on experience of a range of jobs they could do if they choose a career in NZ forestry.

Ngahuia Rimene and Aaliyah Savaliga, Year 9 students at Makoura College, Masterton, were selected via a competition organised by Makoura school careers adviser Therese King and SNI Wood Council Chief Executive Erica Kinder. Ngahuia and Aaliyah were treated as interns during the week, and given the chance to get involved with real work whenever possible. They were also paid a stipend.

Over the week, Ngahuia and Aaliyah spent time with several companies, got their boots dirty, and learnt about some of the jobs that make up the Wairarapa forestry scene. Their five days included time out in the forest road marking and water-flow testing on a harvesting site; a day in a logging truck; a visit to Centreport, Wellington, to see ship loading operations; learning about forest mapping and GIS; a virtual tour of JNL’s Masterton mill; and learning how to fly a UAV.

Ngahuia’s favourite day was the one spent riding in a logging truck, where she learned to chain up and use the radio. Aaliyah said that she most liked the sawmill presentation from Sean McBride at JNL, and thought she might like to work in a sawmill in the future.

During the week the students took photos and videos of their experiences and are now making a promotional slideshow of ‘their week in forestry’. This video will be shown at their school and loaded onto the SNI Wood Council Facebook page and website.

The girls disliked long walks uphill in the bush, preferring to take the ATV. Both girls thought they could see themselves working in forestry; they already have family members in the industry and were amazed at all the options they learnt about over the week.

“The SNI Wood Council feels that promoting forestry as a valid career option is important in attracting young people to the industry,” says Erica Kinder. “And what better way of doing that than getting students to promote it for us?

“This is an exciting way of interacting with schools and young people. Next year the SNI Wood Council would like to roll this initiative out to all our regions across the lower North Island. We are applying for funding to help co-ordinate this with the 87 high schools in our patch.”

The SNI Wood Council thanks the following people and companies for hosting Ngahuia and Aaliyah: Guy Farman, Farman-Turkington Logging; McCarthy’s Transport; Steve Harris, C3; Margaret Willis, Woodnet; Sean McBride, JNL Ltd; and Forest Enterprises.

Photo: Ngahuia enjoying the challenge of chaining up a load of logs.

Source: SNI Wood Council, Forest Growers Levy Trust

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