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Expanding Our Roots

Blue Lake & COTR Partner on New Entry Level Forestry Course
Jody McInnes- Blue Lake Forest Education Society

Blue Lake Forest Education Society is working in partnership with the College of the Rockies on a project that will help address the need for skilled workers in the forestry sector.  Under the leadership of a recently formed Forestry Training Advisory Committee, representing a diverse cross-section within the sector, the planning team has undergone a 10 month planning process to help address this shortage.  The newly developed plan is to develop a 7-10 day curriculum that will cover basic principles and skills necessary for an entry level field position in forestry. 

“Over the past few years I have been in contact with many forestry contractors and consultants and it evident that everyone seems to be facing similar challenges in finding skilled workers and then also retaining these workers after they have been initially employed and trained.  The days of having a large pool of post-secondary forestry students all competing for these jobs is long gone and now it seems that many companies are doing everything that they can to find able bodied candidates who they can then train to fit the position.  The program that we are proposing should help to alleviate some of these frustrations by reducing the time spent recruiting and training and provide a pool of skilled workers from which they can be hired.”
Jody McInnes (General Manager, BLFES)

Successful participants in this course will have the skills and understanding to move directly into a position with one of the many forestry consultants or contractors in the area.  Once employed, the participants will gain further knowledge and experience in the forest sector and receive encouragement and direction on how to increase their skills and training by attending post secondary institutions or other training programs.  This program is designed to encourage young people to take a closer look at forestry and showcase some of the opportunities in this sector.  Not only will this program help to increase the number of skilled workers in the field but it will also help to alleviate some of the time and money that various contractors and consultants spend training entry level employees.

The next step in this process is finalizing the curriculum for the course.  Since this course is being developed in response to a common need within the sector it is crucial that a collaborative planning process be undertaken for the final development of the curriculum.  The Advisory Committee has developed a survey that has been sent out to all forestry employers in the southern interior of BC that asks which skills and certifications they feel would be necessary for an entry level forestry worker with their organization.  The results of these surveys are being analyzed and will be included in the development of the final curriculum.  After all of the planning and logistical coordination is complete, a pilot program for 15-20 students will be unveiled in the spring of 2009!     

If you would like more information about this course or if you are interested in joining the Advisory Committee, please contact Jody McInnes from the Blue Lake Forest Education Society at 250-426-3676 or by email at [email protected]


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