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New Forestry and Timber Projects Approved for 2021-22

Industry will soon have the chance to be involved in updating and developing skills standards for two important areas of forestry and timber work. Projects for responding and assisting in bushfires and sawmilling and timber processing have been approved by the Australian Industry and Skills Committee (AISC) for 2021-22 and are currently being scoped and planned for. More information will be available on the Skills Impact website shortly and will be circulated through this newsletter and ForestWorks communications. There will be opportunities to have your say throughout each project. For further details, please feel free to contact us or ForestWorks.

Project 1: Responding and Assisting in Bushfires

Forestry operators hold a key role in assisting with fire mitigation, firefighting, clean up, and clearing operations. They have expertise in the heavy machinery used in both harvesting operations and fire-fighting and support the prevention of bushfire through mechanical thinning. With the frequency and intensity of bushfires in Australia expected to increase, forestry operators and emergency services supervisors need to be effectively trained and ready to respond and assist. New units of competency may need to be developed to address skill gaps such as effective coordination of fire ground operations, maintaining situational awareness and safety during fire ground operations, assessing the hazard of fire-affected trees, and using appropriate techniques when pushing fire-affected trees with heavy machines. Any new units could be exported into other training packages to support job roles outside the forestry industry, which have also expanded to undertake activities assisting with bushfires.

Project 2: Sawmilling and Timber Processing

The sawmilling, timber processing and engineered wood products sectors are undergoing rapid digital transformation and technological advancement. The skills required of operators is changing. They need the skills to work with new technologies and produce innovative products such as cross laminated timber (CLT) and glue laminated timber (GLT). The demand for skills to monitor, maintain, optimise and troubleshoot highly specialised automated equipment that moves, grades, assesses, scans, cuts and assembles timber pieces and products is surpassing the need for operators to pass, move, lift, grade, assess, stack, and sort timber and wood products. This project will review national qualifications and skills standards to incorporate current skills requirements and to consolidate the number of qualifications and units, to reduce complexity in the training system.