Wood Business

Features Podcast
The CFI Podcast: Kevin Edgson on how to attract younger workers to forestry


May 26, 2020
By CFI Staff

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For years now, the forest industry has been facing a shortage of skilled labour as many forestry workers reach retirement age and fewer young workers enter the industry. So, what can forest products companies do to attract younger workers?

To answer that question, in the latest episode of The CFI Podcast, CFI editor Ellen Cools spoke with Kevin Edgson, president and CEO of EACOM Timber Corporation, board chair of the Forest Products Association of Canada and a member of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative’s board of directors.

There are a number of reasons why fewer young workers are entering the industry. For example, there is an outdated perception of the industry and opportunities within it, Edgson said.

“I think the perception rests in the old view that it was very labour intensive and a harsh environment when, in fact, there’s some really interesting technologies, it’s sustainable, it’s green, it’s an environment that’s not an office,” he explained.

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A generational shift away from manufacturing and trade jobs, as well as the general urbanization of Canadian society also play a role.

As a result, the industry needs to communicate and engage society to help the public understand what the industry is about, how industry manages forests, the technology involved and the career paths available, Edgson said.

“It’s really a matter of engaging youth that are especially interested in STEM or trade-type career paths, and helping them understand what those opportunities are.”

Listen to the SoundCloud link below to learn more about what younger workers are looking for in their careers, the impact of new industry programs and initiatives, the importance of diversity and inclusion, mentorship, and more.

You can also find the episode on iTunes under Annex Business Media: Podcasts or stream it at annexbusinessmedia.com/podcasts.

Have an idea for a podcast episode? Email Ellen Cools at ecools@annexbusinessmedia.com

Special thanks to our sponsor Project Learning Tree Canada.

Project Learning Tree Canada offers support to employers, and job placements for 15- to 30-year-olds in the forest and conservation sector. Sign up today as an employer or job seeker. Get involved in mentorship and access a wide range of career resources.

Learn more at pltcanada.org. Growing future forest and conservation leaders.

Music: www.purple-planet.com