Getting a Job in the Forestry Industry
Forestry is one of New Zealand’s fastest-growing industries. One good proof of this is the government’s One Billion Trees Programme. Its ultimate goal is to plant a billion trees by 2028, with a focus on making it easier for New Zealanders to plant “the right tree, in the right place, for the right purpose.”
The One Billion Trees Programme also aims to transform the country’s forests to improve the environment and at the same time boost economic performance. In fact, during the 2017-2018 period alone, the project was already able to increase timber harvest by 10%. The project also contributes to New Zealand’s international climate change commitments, helps provide opportunities for the Māori, as well as opens employment opportunities that lead to sustainable economic growth, among many other worthwhile outputs.
These are just a few of the numerous reasons why working in the forestry industry can be a rewarding endeavour. Apart from being able to care for the planet, you will also learn along the way, use world-class technologies, and earn a sizeable, stable income to boot.
How to Join the Forestry Industry in New Zealand
A career in forestry isn’t as simplistic as “planting trees,” although that’s a huge part of it. Some of the other things involved in this career track include
- ecological restoration and conservation
- collecting and interpreting forest data
- selecting the appropriate trees to cut down for timber
- conducting regular inspections
- operating harvesting machinery
- operating loaders, cutters, and other machines
What’s good about being a forester is that you can learn and get paid as you’re earning your qualifications. There are also training providers like CC Training Academy where you can take courses related to arboriculture and forestry, earning you a relevant diploma within 12 months (depending on the course).
If you’re planning on a forestry career, you’ll have an edge if you have a degree in forest sciences or forest science and management. If you already have a Bachelor’s degree, consider taking up forestry or forest science as your postgraduate course.
These courses require a high school certificate. Proficiency in biology, chemistry, earth and environmental science, as well as English and Mathematics, can also give you an edge. Obviously, it’s also important to have an interest in nature and the environment.
Skill-wise, foresters need to be good communicators and good planners. This is because the job requires coordination and engagement with various parties, including government officials and other forest workers.
The Benefits of a Job in Forestry
Jobs in forestry offer a lot of benefits. These include:
New Zealand’s forestry sector employs more than 20,000 workers, including science-adjacent and service-based jobs. This number is expected to increase in the coming years, especially as the industry continues to grow and strengthen. The forestry sector is also open to everyone as long as they have the right training.
Nowadays, people are looking for more than just jobs. They’re also looking for purpose. With a career in forestry, you can easily tick these two boxes. You’ll not only be contributing to economic growth, you’ll also be protecting the environment. This will ultimately lead to more satisfaction in your job, which can influence various work-related aspects such as productivity.
What’s great about a forestry career is that it presents many opportunities for both vertical and lateral advancement. In addition, it’s easy to get a job in forestry anywhere in New Zealand. Flexibility also isn’t an issue. Last but not the least, you can earn as soon as you start your training and apprenticeships.
If you think forestry is a dull industry, think again. It’s actually one of the most exciting, fastest-progressing industries, particularly in terms of technology. For example, there are various applications of robotics in forestry such as in increasing production and improving safety.
The Importance of New Zealand’s Forests
The importance of forests cannot be understated. They absorb carbon dioxide and other pollutant gases, making the air cleaner and healthier. Healthy forests also help mitigate climate change and global warming. In addition, trees also prevent erosion and sustain various non-native and endemic species of plants and animals.
In New Zealand, forests also play cultural roles for the different tribes scattered across the islands. Many native forests are also home to symbolic trees, such as the Waipoua Forest, the home of the country’s largest kauri tree. Called Tāne Mahuta and “The Lord (or God) of the Forest,” this kauri tree is about 2,000 years old.
Forests also serve as recreational spaces, whether you’re looking for adventure or a bit of quiet time. National parks and forests also contribute a significant amount to New Zealand’s tourism-based income.
Finally, New Zealand’s forest and forestry sector is an economic powerhouse. In fact, forest products are behind only dairy and meat when it comes to export earnings.
At the end of the day, any career path is a viable one as long as it meets your personal goals. Still, there’s something to be said about a job that’s fulfilling in more ways than one. Through sustainable forestry, many New Zealanders will continue to have well-paying jobs that both support their families and preserve the environment.
If you haven’t thought of working in the forestry sector before, then perhaps now is the time to think about it!