Australasia's home for timber news and information

Forestry course for high school

A unique new Lincoln University forestry course will be delivering cutting-edge training in a New Zealand, Northland school next year. Source: Voxy NZ

Subject to funding, LincolnFirst Telford, a division of Lincoln University, will run the inaugural course at Kaikohe’s Northland College under the auspices of the Northland Educational Hub.

Students will gain hands-on experience by working in a pine forest block the College owns.

The course is a game changer for the region, chairman of the college’s farm committee, and Lincoln University principal farms advisor, Murray Jamieson says.

The students can prepare for a future forestry career without having to leave school, and be trained by industry professionals.

“No other school is offering a course like it in New Zealand,” said Mr Jamieson. He says the course will foster potential managers and leaders in the field.

Six students had already signed up to fill the course for next year. The small numbers reflect the desire to ensure the course is “done right” in its first year, and that one specialist trainer was needed for every two students because of the working environment.

It will be an intensive course and on average the students are to be in the forest three days a week, as well as learning in the classroom under a specialist teacher.

Forestry is a major part of the Northland economy and there is a need for a skilled, well trained labour force.

There will be regular industry input into the course to ensure it remains relevant to current requirements.

Mr Jamieson said the same rigorous regulations that apply to the forestry industry would apply to the course, with best practice being carried out. This would go as far as drug testing students to ensure they are safe to work in the forest.

Vice-Chancellor of Lincoln University, Dr Andrew West, applauds the initiative.

“Forestry training builds on the momentum achieved in training young Maori in dairying. Next we will target sheep and beef farming, horticulture, aquaculture and tourism,” he said.

The University and the College formed the Northland Educational Hub to support the teaching of agriculture in the school and the learning pathway from the College into tertiary education through Lincoln.