Going out on a limb sees New Zealand's forestry stars spotted

Tuesday 27 July 2010, 5:02PM

Twenty-six outstanding Kiwi individuals and companies are in line for the wood industry’s top accolades after being named as finalists in the National Training Awards run by FITEC, the forest and wood industry training organisation.

The annual awards showcase the rising stars of the industry, celebrating the commitment that individuals have towards their careers and of companies in raising skill levels in the multi-billion-dollar industry.

The finalists have been chosen from a total of around 9,000 trainees within the broader forest and wood manufacturing sector, which consists of some 20,000 employees in total.

“Reaching this stage is a real achievement,” says FITEC Chief Executive, Ian Boyd, “We have businesses from forestry and sawmilling to furniture, wood panels and pulp and paper. Roles as diverse as machine operators, manual workers, technicians, chemists, foremen, managers and engineers, all contributing to annual earnings throughout the industry sector of around $3.7 billion.”

This year’s finalists come from all around the country and include a young Dunedin logger who has a passion for learning, a specialist harvesting company in Gisborne investing heavily in training, a dedicated timber machinist from Dannevirke, and an established manufacturing company from Tokoroa which isn’t only seeing improvements in output but also in staff self esteem, literacy and communications skills as a result of training.

“The stories behind many of the finalists are inspirational and show the amazing achievements of the individuals and companies involved in this nationally important industry.”

Winners of the FITEC National Training Awards will be announced at a gala dinner and awards ceremony, to be held at the Rotorua Energy Events Centre on September 9.

Awards are given in 10 categories. The categories and their prizes are:

Modern Apprentice of the Year (Forestry) – finalists $250, winner $1000
Modern Apprentice of the Year (Wood Manufacturing) – finalists $250, winner $1000
Trainee of the Year (Forestry) – finalists $250, winner $1000
Trainee of the Year (Wood Manufacturing) – finalists $250, winner $1000
Trainee of the Year (Furniture) (furniture piece entry) – finalists $500, winner $1000
Training Company of the Year (Forestry) – $1000 in FITEC training
Training Company of the Year (Wood Manufacturing) – $1000 in FITEC training
Training Company of the Year (Furniture) - $1000 in FITEC training
Outstanding Business Performance through People Development – $1000 in FITEC training
FITEC Training Leader of the Year – $1000 travel voucher.

Mr Boyd says the forestry and wood manufacturing sector is New Zealand’s third largest primary industry export earner and therefore education and training within the sector is essential. It has been shown to lead directly to productivity improvements and other advantages.

“FITEC believes that investing in training is one of the most important strategies an individual or company can have and these awards are the one opportunity to celebrate the results of that investment.”

For a full list of finalists go to