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Fifteen men graduated at a special ceremony at NorthTec, thanks to a successful partnership between the Polytechnic and a Whangarei-based forestry contracting company.
Te Tai Tokerau MP, Kelvin Davis, was the guest speaker as the men employed by Forest Protection Services received their graduation certificates, watched by their partners, children and parents.
NorthTec has teamed up with the employer to provide specialised training for its workers, some of whom are experienced in their field but had not previously gained formal qualifications.
Two students received the National Certificate in Forestry (Foundation), a level 2 qualification; four received the level 3 National Certificate in Forestry Operations (Tree Felling); and eight qualified for the National Certificate in Forestry Operations (Thinning to Waste), again at level 3.
One student also received the National Certificate in Occupational Safety and Health, gaining two level 3 qualifications at the same time. The level 4 National Certificate in Motor Industry (Outdoor Power Equipment Servicing) was also awarded to one student.
Kelvin Davis, a former teacher, told the ceremony: “I know the value of education and I fully believe that it is through education that we are going to improve our lives. It is great to see people who have left school carrying on with their education, and it is great to see children here, to see learning does not stop once you have left school. We need more people not just getting the qualifications that you have got, but to move through the levels of forestry management.”
Kevin Ihaka, Managing Director of FPS Forestry, the parent company of Forest Protection Services, said: “It is quite humbling to see the number of people that our business touches. It makes you realise it’s not just the guys who come to work every day who are affected by what we do, it’s the whānau and the community too. I am immensely proud of what you guys have achieved – you are at the top of your game.”
Andrew Widdowson, Northern Area Manager of Hancock Forest Management (NZ) Ltd, said there was a great relationship and a strong partnership between his company, contractors Forest Protection Services, who work for Hancock, and NorthTec. He said: “I would like to thank NorthTec for delivering this training. It is done in a way that works for us and it is a very exceptional result for the industry.”
Phil Nikora, NorthTec’s Programme Team Leader for forestry, said it was a win-win situation for all involved, and the industry could only be better off for having skilled, trained workers with professional qualifications. “Forest Protection Services must be commended for their professional approach towards the training and development of their employees,” he added.
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