The Queensland government has announced that Timber Queensland has been successful in a one-year $980,000 funding application to establish ‘Canopy’, a forest and timber industry training and career hub.
In a media statement, Timber Queensland’s Strategic Relations and Communications Manager Clarissa Brandt explained that the hub will unite industry, employers, training institutions, and employment agencies to offer training, career education, and work experience opportunities for school leavers, unemployed individuals, and employees looking to enhance their skills or retrain.
“Global trends in technology, sustainable development and a movement towards the circular economy are driving increased demand for timber manufactured and waste products,” Mrs Brandt said in the statement.
Last week, the Australian Government passed its National Reconstruction Fund bill, providing forestry and fibre with up to $500m to commit to renewables and transition to a fully circular economy.
“The developments mean new job opportunities in all segments of the supply chain, supplementing the more traditional roles that will continue to underpin our growing industry,” she said.
Mrs Brandt added that while demand increases, the sector faces significant obstacles in recruiting, training, and retaining skilled and qualified personnel.
“Current skill gaps and the absence of a future workforce pipeline pose major limitations to the growth of an efficient, effective forest and timber sector throughout Queensland,” she said.
As a first for Queensland, ‘Canopy’ will offer coordinated statewide industry attraction, retention, and training initiatives, test new IT platforms for delivering micro-credentials, and boost productivity and efficiency.
“Timber Queensland is thrilled to launch this major project over the next 12 months, which will address some of the industry’s long-term workforce development needs. Covering the Wide Bay, Moreton Bay, Central Queensland, and Far North Queensland regions, this innovative project will cater to the entire industry supply chain.”
‘Canopy’ will concentrate on aligning trainees’ and graduates’ knowledge and practical abilities with current industry needs.
Mrs. Brandt stated that ‘Canopy’ staff would visit schools and job expos statewide to raise career awareness and highlight the diverse opportunities available within the industry.
The hub will collaborate with schools and training providers to offer top-notch career education programs, like the “Introduction to the Forest & Timber Industry: Grow, Harvest & Process Industry Schools Tours” recently covered by Wood Central.
These tours have effectively engaged students, and ‘Canopy’ plans to expand them and develop an associated work experience program.
The Queensland government proudly funds this project through its Workforce Connect Fund.