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Money from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will be used to help Otago teenagers enter careers in forestry, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced today.
Mr Jones said Te Ara Mahi will invest $63,000 in the 2020 school year to support eight 17 and 18 year olds to enter careers in forestry as part of the PGF's skills and employment programme.
"Forestry is a major industry in the Otago region but forestry companies are short of workers.
"Additionally, there’s an ageing workforce so it’s important that we encourage more young people into sustainable and exciting forestry careers," Mr Jones said.
The funding would be used to train young people and support the, into local full time employment.
They would gain first-hand experience in the forestry industry, from establishment to production, while gaining industry-related qualifications.
Participants for the programme would be recommended by their schools and would be interviewed for suitability before being accepted.
"Forestry is currently enjoying a renewed lease on life thanks to the One Billion Trees programme and the Government’s emphasis on the sector for both regional development and environmental outcomes.
"And there are wider public benefits – the forestry industry offers opportunities to optimise land use, help mitigate the effects of climate change, protect the environment, and ensure sustainable fibre has a key role in the future low carbon economy," Mr Jones said.
The PGF funding would pay for a qualified industry tutor, support the transport of trainees to the course and to work experience, and cover the administration costs required to run the course.