Funding opens new opportunities for B.C. forestry students

P&PC staff
June 19, 2018
By P&PC staff
June 19, 2018 – Those pursuing a career in the forestry industry will soon be able to access new education and training options following a $1-million investment in new and updated programs at six public post-secondary institutions in British Columbia.

The funding includes $328,000 to enhance the existing coastal forest resource certificate, and develop an applied forest resource diploma, at North Island College. The college will expand its workplace-based certificate program with an in-field training and mentorship model, while developing a new diploma program to include industry leadership, mentorship and on-the-job training.

North Island College is consulting with local employers to develop the curriculum, and ensure the certificate and two-year diploma position students and industry for long-term success. As planning continues, the program's tuition, start date and curriculum details will be confirmed.

“Revitalizing the sector with a skilled workforce is a key part of our strategy for the forest sector, and the tens of thousands of British Columbians who rely on forestry jobs," Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, said.

Kyle Porteous, 2018 graduate of the coastal forest resources certificate program, now working as a timber cruiser assistant at Campbell River-based Ranger Forest Services, said, “There’s so much to forestry that people don’t realize. From the production side to road building, there are a lot of different careers within the industry. It gives me an opportunity to work outdoors, and see parts of the province you can only get to by helicopter or boat.”

Forestry in British Columbia is a major economic driver, accounting for one-third of all exports, with a value of $14 billion, and almost 60,000 direct jobs. Forestry sector employment is changing due to manufacturing activity consolidating into fewer, but larger operations. However, value-added sectors such as plywood, cabinets, laminated timber and prefabricated housing are expected to thrive. About 10,900 job openings in the forestry sector are expected by 2027, mainly to replace highly skilled workers, who are retiring.

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