Entry Level Forestry Skills Project

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Case for change

In forestry regions around the country, school students need to be able to access school-based vocational education or apprenticeships that provide a career path into a range of forestry job roles. The forest growing, management and harvesting industry is aging, with the highest proportion of employees represented in the age group of between 53 and 68. Employers are consistent in their message that a high priority for the industry is attracting young people. This project proposes a review of entry level qualifications to support this industry goal, so they can be delivered in a school environment.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2020 Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work.

The Forest Management and Harvesting Industry Reference Committee (IRC) will oversee this project as part of their responsibility to support engagement with the sector, and to ensure the project meets industry stakeholder needs.

Skills Impact and ForestWorks will manage this project, consistent with the 2012 Standards for Training Package Development.

Download Project Proposal (see page 58)

Project Plan

Demand for skilled workers is strong in the forest industry. Local and global markets continue to seek out a range of products, from new wood-fibre based plastic alternatives to the softwood used to build new homes. To meet this need in a sustainable way, the Federal Government has committed to planting an additional billion trees over the next decade. This is in addition to the 70 million trees already planted each year. Attracting and training new entrants are high priorities for the Regional Forestry Hubs in their plans to deliver on this commitment and address future skills needs in regional Australia.

Feedback from industry to date has indicated that the national entry level qualifications could be broadened to better meet current skills needs and attract new young entrants. Australian plantation forests, which provide the majority of Australia’s timber, are located in regional and sometimes remote locations. School students in these regions should be able to access school-based VET training or apprenticeships that provide a career path into a range of forestry roles and equip them with the skills they need to get started.

This project will review and update current entry level qualifications so that they better support the career journey of learners and reflect the hands-on skills required. This will include a review of skills standards for a range of entry level job roles, including within nursery, forest infrastructure and forest harvesting, all which require unique expertise.

Project Scope

Qualifications, units of competency and skill sets to be reviewed and redesigned

  • FWP10116 Certificate I in Forest and Forest Products
  • FWP20116 Certificate II in Forest Growing and Management
  • FWP20216 Certificate II Harvesting and Haulage
  • FWP30116 Certificate III in Forest Growing and Management
  • FWP30216 Certificate III in Harvesting and Haulage
  • 44 units of competency from the above qualifications
  • 17 skill sets related to the forest operations

New units and skill sets to potentially be developed

  • New units of competency for skills by using harvesting simulators
  • New skill sets subject to consultations


Register your interest in the project

Subscribe to the Skills Impact newsletter to keep informed about project updates and opportunities to provide input and feedback. Make sure to select ‘Forestry & Timber’ as your industry of interest.

Relevant Occupations
  • Nursery Worker
  • Forestry Worker
  • Silviculture Operator
  • Tree Feller
  • Harvesting Machine Operator
  • On-site Wood Chipping Operator
  • Cable Logging Operator
  • Other Forestry Plant Operator
  • Log Truck Driver


Project Team


Oct 2020
Initial scoping

Nov 2020 – Apr 2021
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

May – Jun 2021
Drafts available for broad consultation

Jun – Jul 2021
Validation of final drafts

Jul – Sep 2021
Finalisation of Training Package components

Sep – Oct 2021
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

Oct – Nov 2021
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

Project Team
Georgiana DaianProject Manager, ForestWorksgdaian@forestworks.com.au
Michelle ClaytonIRC and Industry Engagement Manager, ForestWorksmclayton@forestworks.com.au
Rob StowellIndustry Skills Standard Contractor


Subject Matter Expert

Subject Matter Experts will be drawn on throughout this project in addition to a Steering Committee to help review and draft the revised units, skill sets and qualifications.

If you are interested in applying to be a subject matter expert and are able to volunteer your time to this project, please email details of your interest and your experience to gdaian@forestworks.com.au

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with a Steering Committee, Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in May – June 2021, and again for validation of final drafts in July 2021. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units. It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The qualifications, skill sets and units need to reflect real work experience. So if you work in the sector, Skills Impact would love your input and help. Please feel free to register your interest for project updates and consultation opportunities by following the newsletter subscription link below. Alternatively, please feel free to contact the project manager, Georgiana Daian on 0413 660 987 or gdaian@forestworks.com.au.

Stakeholder Consultation Process

A list of key stakeholder organisations has been identified for this project. Skills Impact will ensure contact is made with each of these organisations during the development of this project to seek their involvement and their views on the draft qualifications, skill sets and units.

If you are aware of an organisation that you think should be involved, please contact the project team to ensure they are contacted by us.

Of course, all and any interested industry participants are encouraged to engage in the consultation of this project, when the draft qualifications, skill sets and units are available for feedback via this webpage and workshops that take place around Australia. Consultation is not limited to the organisations on this list. This list simply helps us to identify those organisations that, because of their industry role, size or specialty, are likely to have a key interest in the development and outcomes of this project.



Local and global markets continue to seek out a range of wood and timber products, from new wood-fibre based plastic alternatives to the softwood used to build new homes. To meet this need in a sustainable way, the Federal Government has committed to planting an additional billion trees over the next decade. These forces are driving a strong demand for skilled workers in the forest industry, which means attracting young people to a career in forestry is a high priority.

As part of this project, work is underway to review entry level forestry qualifications and relevant units of competency, so that school students, school leavers and other new entrants have access to clear career pathways into a range of forestry roles. More flexible and tailored entry-level qualifications and units of competency would help promote easier delivery and young peoples’ participation in forestry-related VET in school programs.

A Steering Committee made up of industry and VET representatives met in October 2020 to provide views about challenges related to forestry-based VET programs delivered in school. The Committee also outlined skills that school students need to develop to get ready for work. One-on-one discussions and various videoconference meetings with subject matter experts were also held throughout this period. This engagement enabled the project team to understand job and skills requirements, to draft content for the new units of competency.

In redesigning the qualifications, the current project seeks to identify the range of entry-level skills required by industry. Consultation to date has identified the following key points regarding the skills needs of entry level workers:

  • The potential to use forestry machine simulators in providing young people with an introduction to the mechanised operations. Simulator-based training would not offer young people the skills to operate forestry machines in the workplace, but it may identify people with an aptitude and inclination for forest operations roles, providing a more robust employment pathway.
  • The need to entry level students to be introduced to a broader range of new technology used in forestry, such as small-scale drones.
  • The need for future qualifications to support students to develop industry knowledge by learning industry concepts and how the industry works.
  • The need to significantly update units of competency for forest nursery production within the current FWP qualifications, as industry has indicated they do not provide for the specialist skills and knowledge required within the forest nursery production operations. It is important that these skills are supported, as industry has indicated a lack of younger people coming into the industry and an increasing demand for qualified staff especially after the 2019-2020 bushfires.
  • The need to support soft skills, to prepare students to navigate workplaces were also mentioned during the consultations.

A series of subject matter expert meetings are planned for February 2021 for reviewing competencies related to four-wheel drive operations, forest nursery production, the use of forestry machine simulators and workplace health and safety.

An additional Steering Committee meeting is planned for March 2021 to consider and provide feedback on the draft entry-level forestry qualifications following the input to date.

Development outcomes and next steps

Broad stakeholder consultation is scheduled to commence in May 2021, when draft qualifications, units, and skill sets will be made available for feedback on this webpage. Your input is welcome. Please feel free to register your interest to keep informed of project updates and when draft materials are available for feedback following the newsletter subscription link below.

Drafts Available

This stage has not yet commenced


This stage has not yet commenced


This stage has not yet commenced