New logger training program
The B.C. government recognized the first six graduates of an innovative Western Forest Products training program aimed at supporting the growing need for workers in the province's forest industry.
The logger training program is supported by WorkSafeBC, a government agency dedicated to promoting workplace health and safety, and focuses on worker safety, environmental awareness and the core skills necessary for entry into this demanding occupation.
“B.C. has more than 53,000 forestry workers, but over the next decade we anticipate 25,000 job openings as workers retire and new jobs are created through economic growth. That’s why government has a comprehensive skills training plan in place – to ensure that B.C.’s forest industry is ready to meet the changing demands of the sector,” said Steve Thomson, B.C.’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
The forest company developed the course based on WorkSafeBC best practices. The course provides students with handbooks. Western Forest Products’ standard operating procedures form the foundation for theory and hands-on experience in assessing and managing environmental hazards, effective communications, and safely working with specialized logging equipment and tools.
The first group of students graduated in November and includes: Trevor Boscoe, Chris Nelson and Dave Tonkin, of Campbell River; Jordan Lambert and Tavis Menzies, of Port McNeill; and James Kenny of Woss.
Western Forest Products intends to run three programs per year in Logging Fundamentals in addition to other courses such as Faller Training. Next intake for the program is planned for spring 2013.
“The new program will help instil the culture of safety with an understanding of hazard assessment and the techniques for safe and productive execution of the task,” said Don Demens, president, Western Forest Products. “We are building a sustainable, globally competitive forest company. This training is a part of our strategic plan that includes investing in our people and supports government’s plan to ensure that B.C. workers have the skills they need to maintain a competitive edge.”