Forestry is the lifeblood of many regional communities, underpinning their economic and social wellbeing.
The ‘social licence’ of the forest and wood products industry to operate is vital to the future prosperity of the industry. This is the acceptance by the public or society at large that an industry has a right to exist and operate in the community, often utilising a community resource. The forest and wood products industry has many positive, good stories to tell.
It is a strong, dynamic industry, with a sustainable, natural, beautiful recyclable product. VAFI is proud to champion the industry and support a number of industry initiatives to provide information about the qualities of forest and wood products. Research has shown that the majority of people are more neutral than positive or negative about the industry Overall, the public also recognises that it is better to source timber from local forests then import it from overseas. Consumer awareness and education programs, along with targeted campaigns, should aim to reach this target market to help influence a positive mentality towards industry.
The Victorian forest and wood products industry is one of Australia’s largest and most diverse industries, providing a broad array of career opportunities in areas including science, research, manufacturing, engineering, logistics, trades and sales to name a few. Within each sector there are people working in many different roles – from plant operators and tradespeople to technicians, managers, salespeople,
scientists and more.
The industry directly employs around 20,000 people across Victoria and indirectly supporting another 40,000 to 50,000 jobs through flow on economic activity. Many of these jobs are located in rural and regional areas of the state.
The industry remains a strong, reliable source of employment for many regional towns across Victoria and VAFI supports initiatives to ensure that employment not only remains steady, but increases in the future and provides a secure future for its workers.
Skills and Training
The forest, fibre and wood products industry in Victoria is one of Australia’s largest and most diverse, providing a broad array of career opportunities in a range of roles.
Moving into the future the industry will need to have a highly skilled, stable and engaged workforce. It will be the industry of choice for employees. The sustainability of the industry is reliant upon a new generation of young workers joining the workforce, bringing with them innovative ways to increase productivity and expand operations.
Currently, the skills and training sector is undergoing a range of changes, all of which has been tied up with regulations. The industry is frustrated and falling behind in skills and training. Skill shortages in the Australian forest, fibre and wood products industry continue to be a concern.
Working with industry, ForestWorks drafted a list of Victorian Skills Shortages in the Forestry and Furniture Design and Manufacturing sectors. High on the list are: Forester, Silviculture worker, Truck Drivers, Saw doctor, Wood Machinist through to PLC Engineer and Paper and pulp plant operators.