Training scheme in funding straits

Hoping the Governmentwill continue to support them are Tokomairiro Training Forestry Pathways personnel (from left) tutor Alistair McKenzie, Connor Brown, Taine Parker (seated), Luke Hewison, Harvey Pringle, Michael Bennett (seated), Anthony Smart and pro
Hoping the Government will continue to support them are Tokomairiro Training Forestry Pathways personnel (from left) tutor Alistair McKenzie, Connor Brown, Taine Parker (seated), Luke Hewison, Harvey Pringle, Michael Bennett (seated), Anthony Smart and programme manager Lynda Allan. PHOTO: NICK BROOK
Milton-based Tokomairiro Training programme manager Lynda Allan says she is disappointed by the lack of  government funding for her organisation’s popular Forestry Pathways training programme, which has been running successfully for three years.

‘‘We’re being told funds have dried up or we don’t fit the funding model. How are we supposed to plant the Government’s two billion trees if we can’t train the workers?’’ she said.

Forestry Pathways helped many young people stay in training or head directly to employment when they were finished with school, Ms Allan said.

‘‘Our organisation and relationships work extremely well, so we believe there’s no need to restructure all of that just to be eligible for funding.

Otago-Southland was the second-biggest forestry industry area in New Zealand and one local contractor required at least 20 new employees next year for planting alone, she said.

The industry remained a key funder of the programme but covered only  50% of costs.

To make up the shortfall,  she had become an ‘‘expert funding seeker’’, Ms Allan said.

However,  the programme would become ineligible for government funding at the end of this year.

Forestry Pathways programme tutor-assessor Alistair McKenzie  said he was thankful for the Otago Community Trust’s  recent grant of nearly $20,000, but it would only only cover tools and equipment.

The course took year 11 to 13 pupils on a two-day-a-week basis for 32 weeks, where they  divided their time  between theory and practical experience of all aspects of the industry, he said.

‘‘Over a quarter of our students stay in forestry or MPI [Ministry for Primary Industries] industry or training, from the practical types who move into harvesting or silviculture ... to the science-minded who can get into engineering or genetics or do a forestry degree.’’

- By Nick Brook

Comments

Very short sighted of MPI but since Milton isn't on the N Island what did you expect?

drivesouth-pow-classic-2.png

Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter