The forestry sector is a major force in the South Waikato economy, generating some 25% of the districts GDP. The district has a multi-pronged approach to forestry training, including the Trades Centre, Generation Training Program and Forestry Machine Simulators.
With the forestry sectors increasing use of mechanised harvesting and technology, the need is for skilled trainees to shift quickly and safely into operating new types of equipment.
The challenge for young people in the regions, particularly the remoter towns, is accessing training facilities such as those in Rotorua or Taupo.
The project involves establishing mobile containers with the latest forest machine simulators (CAT grapples, Waratah harvesters) which can be based out of Tokoroa and also moved to remoter towns for training blocks.
The training will be provided by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.
SWIFT applied to Te Uru Rakau (1 Bn Trees Program) and gained the $600,000 funding required to purchase the simulators and fit out the containers.
The target date to have the simulators and program up and running is September 2021 in time to take on the first cohort of Generation students.