New Zealand's wood industries congratulate their 2009-2010 Fitec graduates

Friday 7 May 2010, 12:54PM

Fitec is hosting ten graduation ceremonies over the next seven weeks to celebrate the training achievements of more than 1300 wood industry modern apprentices and trainees, who have completed around 1700 national certificates in 2009-2010.

The graduations recognise the hard work, commitment and dedication to learning each individual has shown. All graduates have completed their study towards national certificates while working full time.

Fitec Chief Executive, Ian Boyd says, “Our graduates are all ages and from many different backgrounds. What they have in common is a motivation to learn and becoming qualified in their profession.

“The value of training for graduates, their employers and their communities is immense. By choosing to improve their vocational knowledge, they become role models for others in the industry, they increase their own skills and confidence and they add significant value and improved productivity to the industry as a whole.”

The functions are sponsored by ACC. ACC Programme Manager for Forestry, Don Ramsay says, “ACC is delighted to continue its involvement this year with Fitec’s regional graduation ceremonies. It is always rewarding to see people achieving at the highest level, and to join with graduates’ friends and family in celebrating their success.

Mr Ramsay says that in the past year the New Zealand Forest Owners Association (NZFOA) has been working with the Department of Labour and ACC to develop 12 safety culture elements to help businesses keep their workers safe and remain productive.

“Many of those elements are as much concerned with leadership as with safety,” Mr Ramsay says, “the eagerness with which many forestry businesses have embraced this new approach shows that forestry as an industry is making a conscious effort to improve leadership and safety right across the sector, and to develop leaders who can take the industry into the future.”

Currently Fitec and the Department of Labour (with funding from the NZFOA and ACC) are leading a review of the Approved Code of Practice and the Best Practice Guidelines for the industry.

Mr Ramsay says ACC hopes any revisions to the guidelines will incorporate a strong focus on leadership, communication, and the building of a safety culture. “Our view is that strong competent leadership, awareness of the hazardous nature of the work, and determination to manage those hazards, is necessary for a safe and productive industry.

“ACC looks forward to Fitec’s regional graduation ceremonies and celebrating the graduation of its future leaders.”

The celebrations are being held in Gisborne (7 May), Whangarei (13 May), Dunedin (14 May), Masterton (20 May), Nelson (21 May), Taupo (27 May), Napier (28 May), Rotorua (11 June), Christchurch (18 June) and Hawera (25 June). Employers, colleagues and families will be attending to support the graduates.