WFP serves up Carihi forestry program support

Students in Western Forest Products’ Logging Fundamentals Training Program get instruction at WFP’s Englewood operation near Woss during a recent tour of the program. - Photo courtesy Western Forest Products.
Students in Western Forest Products’ Logging Fundamentals Training Program get instruction at WFP’s Englewood operation near Woss during a recent tour of the program.
— image credit: Photo courtesy Western Forest Products.

WOSS—Carihi Secondary School’s Forestry Program in Campbell River was presented a $1,000 donation from Western Forest Products (WFP), following a tour of WFP’s Logging Fundamentals Training Program at the Englewood Forest Operation in Woss.

John Mann, VP of Timberlands for WFP, presented the cheque to Carihi’s Forestry Program teacher, Jason Kerluck, at a dinner capping off the recent tour.

“Loggers trained to safely and efficiently harvest timber are critical to the forest industry,” said Mann. “WFP proudly supports Campbell River’s Carihi Forestry Program, which we expect will help respond to the growing need for new, skilled loggers to support our business.”

In September 2012, WFP, the largest forest products employer on the coast of B.C., successfully launched its Logging Fundamentals Training Program on Vancouver Island to help fill a growing labour gap created by the retirement of skilled workers. This innovative and comprehensive program demonstrates WFP’s commitment to invest in the future. The program teaches students the fundamentals of logging, provides practical training to work safely and productively in a harvesting environment, and helps graduates become strong candidates for employment in the logging industry.

The Logging Fundamentals Training tour was hosted by WFP in response to growing interest within the forest industry community. The 20-person tour group included representatives from two high schools, four post-secondary schools, six forest companies, the Ministry of Forest Lands and Natural Resource Operations, the Truck Loggers Association and industrial training agencies. Tour participants met with WFP’s current class of six logging trainees learning the trade under the supervision of two experienced instructors. The student trainees demonstrated solid skills and agility while working in a non-production, low-pressure environment.

As a sustainable wood products producer, WFP sees a promising future for B.C.’s coastal forestry industry.

“Over the next decade, with the retirement of skilled workers, we anticipate increased employment opportunities for new workers across the forestry industry,” said Don Demens, President and CEO of WFP. “In anticipation of this shift, we have developed our Logging Fundamentals Program as well as a new program for training fallers, which we expect to expand in the future. The skills developed in our programs help prepare candidates for work, providing them the skills and approach to operate safely and efficiently in our coastal industry.”

Since its inception last fall, WFP’s two classes of six graduates have become employed in the North Island forest industry – many of them hired on by WFP, with other logging companies interested in future graduates.

The seven-week Logging Fundamentals Training Program can accommodate 18 students per year. The program is based on the WorkSafe materials for cable yarding, developed and delivered by WFP. It is endorsed by the United Steel Workers Union and has received funding support directly from WFP and through the Coast Sustainability Trust II.

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