Forest Industry Safety Council’s Fiona Ewing and Nathan Taylor with the Mechanised Cable Harvesting crew. Photo: Supplied.

Awards to showcase forestry heroes

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A group of forestry professionals are spearheading a brand-new event for the region to celebrate those working in a notoriously tough industry.

Event founder Nathan Taylor says the region’s forestry industry has a highly-skilled work force and the new Top of the South Forestry Awards are about recognising that.

“You’ve got a lot of guys working on really expensive machinery, and on the same token, there’s a lot of really skilled guys breaking out and felling.”

Nathan says the awards are also about attracting young people into the forestry industry, which he says is a real challenge.

“Attracting young people into these types of industry is a real challenge. I think it’s highlighted more so in the forestry industry and silviculture.”

He says young people are motivated differently to previous generations, which makes a difference to what attracts them to certain jobs.

“Generally, they like recognition, they like to know that the job they are doing has been noticed and they are motivated by being recognised for that.”

He says it’s important to show young people that there are different pathways into forestry and the awards aim to showcase those.

In the 20 years Nathan’s been involved with forestry he has seen some big changes.

“One of the key things is the step from manual labour to mechanisation – getting guys off the hill.”

He says the award categories have been developed specifically for the top of the south region, which has a huge mechanical presence.

Event manager Prue Younger, who also runs four similar events around the country, says the evening will be about celebrating all that’s good in the industry.

The inaugural event will be held on June 14 at the Trafalgar Centre.

The Top of the South Forestry Awards are currently running a sponsorship campaign in which both local and national businesses have the opportunity to sponsor individual awards or different aspects of the evening.

For more information on sponsorship and award categories visit www.totsforestry.co.nz