Sawmilling and Timber Processing Project

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Case for change

In recent years, sawmills and wood product facilities around Australia have experienced major technological advancements and the introduction of new production methods and equipment. This has seen a change in worker skill needs, with a shift towards skills in monitoring, optimising, and troubleshooting highly specialised automated technology that moves, scans, cuts and assembles timber components and products.

This project will update the qualifications and skills standards in timber processing and wood manufactured products to incorporate current skills requirements and consolidate the number of qualifications and units to reduce complexity in the training system. This project will build on previous projects overseen by the Timber and Wood Processing IRC and Timber Building Solutions IRC, which focussed on supporting sawmill timber and process optimisation, cross laminated and prefabricated timber building systems, as well as timber truss and frame estimation and design.

The Australian Industry Skills Committee (AISC) approved this project, out of the 2021 Annual Update to the IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work for the Australian Forest and Wood Products Industry (see pages 44-48).

The Timber and Wood Processing 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 44-48)

 

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Project Plan

The sawmilling and engineered wood products sectors have undergone rapid digital transformation and technical progress as industry works to provide environmentally sustainable solutions for building construction. Sawmills and other wood product facilities are investing in and integrating state-of-the-art equipment into workplaces to produce innovative products, including cross laminated timber (CLT) and glue laminated timber (GLT). As a result, the job roles of operators have evolved, requiring updated skills to work with new equipment and produce versatile mass timber products.

Feedback from industry has indicated that the current qualifications and skills standards for sawmilling, timber processing and wood manufactured products require updating to reflect developments in technology and processes in the Australian timber and wood products sectors. Consultation will take place throughout the project to capture the skills required for operating and monitoring automated wood processing technologies and continuous drying kilns, including the use of programmable logic controllers. Consideration will also be given to current skill needs in optimising output and identifying, analysing and rectifying potential issues that may arise throughout new processes. Current industry standards in quality control and meeting Chain of Custody requirements will also be reviewed and included in the qualifications and units.

Along with updating the qualifications to meet current and future industry skill needs, consideration will be given to simplifying training delivery. It is proposed that this is achieved through the consolidation of qualifications at Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) levels II and III, so that there is one timber and wood processing qualification at each of these levels, with specialisations to allow learners to focus on a particular skill area. Specialisations would cover the skills required for mass timber prefabrication (CLT and Glulam), veneer-based production (plywood and LVL) and manufacturing boards from wood particles or fibres (particleboard and MDF), as well as other wood products.

Project Scope

Five qualifications, 48 units of competency and four skill sets related to sawmilling and processing and timber manufactured products will be reviewed as part of this project. Consultation will take place to define the skills needed to operate highly specialised automated equipment and perform current processes. Up to eight new units may be developed and units with low enrolments will be assessed for industry need.

 

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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
  • Timber and wood processing operators
  • Timber and wood processing supervisors
  • Timber and wood processing technicians

 

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

Timeline

August 2021
Initial scoping

Sept 2021 – Feb 2021
Development of draft qualifications, skill sets and units

March – April 2022
Drafts available for broad consultation

April 2022
Validation of final drafts

May 2022
Finalisation of Training Package components

May – July 2022
Independent Quality Assurance, and Edit and Equity review of Training Package components

July 2022
IRC consideration for sign-off and submission for endorsement

 

Subject Matter Expert

Subject Matter Experts will be drawn on throughout this project 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 expertise to gdaian@forestworks.com.au

Opportunities for stakeholder input

Those with experience and knowledge in timber and wood processing, who are able to describe the skills needed for this industry are invited to engage with this project.

It is important that training provides a skilled and flexible workforce for the future. The units need to reflect real work experience. So, if you work in the sector, Skills Impact and ForestWorks welcome your input and assistance.

Stakeholder input is appreciated throughout the duration of this project. The documents will be drafted in consultation with Subject Matter Experts and their networks. Opportunities to provide targeted feedback will occur when the draft materials are made available in March-April 2022, and again for validation of final drafts in April 2022. However, your feedback is welcomed at any time, and will help us in drafting the qualifications, skill set and units.

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 and ForestWorks 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.

 

Development

Rapid digital transformation and technical progress are shifting the skills needs of the sawmilling and engineered wood products sectors. Workplaces are integrating state-of-the-art equipment into workplaces to produce innovative products, including cross laminated timber (CLT) and glue laminated timber (GLT). Operators require the skills to work with new equipment and produce versatile mass timber products.

As a result of these developments the qualifications and skills standards for sawmilling, timber processing and wood manufactured products require updating. Consultation is taking place with industry experts to capture the skills required for new processes, including optimising output and troubleshooting. They have identified the need to improve employees’ general, transferable skills. These include team and individual work, problem solving and equipment maintenance as well as skills that support compliance with safety, chain of custody and environmental requirements.

Feedback has indicated that mills invest extensively in technology and require process operators, line technicians and production supervisors with skills in quality assurance, routine maintenance, process monitoring and continuous improvement. There is also a need for knowledge of production processes and work flows in work environments such as sawmills, log yards, CLT/GLT plants, plywood/LVL plants and/or MDF/PB plants, so that operators are able to support quality improvement, participate in problem-solving processes and understand the reasons for particular work operations and processes.

Along with updating the qualifications to meet current and future industry skill needs, consideration will be given to making the qualifications more flexible and more able to be delivered by training providers. It is proposed that this could be achieved through the consolidation of qualifications at Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) levels II and III, so that there is one timber and wood processing qualification at each of these levels, with specialisations to allow learners to focus on a particular skill area. At this stage, it is envisaged that specialisations will be available in mass timber prefabrication (CLT and Glulam), veneer-based production (plywood and LVL) and manufacturing boards from wood particles or fibers (particleboard and MDF), as well as other wood products.

Development outcomes and next steps

Broad stakeholder consultation is scheduled to commence in March 2022, when draft qualifications and units of competency 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 by following the newsletter subscription link below.

 

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.

 

Drafts Available

This stage has not yet commenced

Validation

This stage has not yet commenced

Finalisation

This stage has not yet commenced