Students interested in working in the woods can get their start this fall through two new programs at North Island College (NIC).
The new four-month Coastal Forest Worker certificate provides entry-level training and job-ready skills for those interested in getting into the industry.
Developed in collaboration with the BC Forest Safety Council (BCFSC), NIC’s certificate includes the BCFSC entry-level skill program competencies and adds basic forest engineering, timber cruising and technology skills.
The two-year Coastal Forest Technology diploma allows students to expand their knowledge, skills and training to keep pace with the latest practices and technologies in the BC Forest Sector and prepares students for professional accreditation as a Registered Forest Technician.
“The skills students will gain will help to fill a variety of leadership and technical roles to support the sustainable management of our forest sector,” said Coleen MacLean-Marlow, NIC Coastal Forestry instructor and registered professional forester.
NIC began developing the programs after hearing from industry members about the need for both entry-level workers and trained technologists.
“We received valuable insight directly from industry in terms of the current skills gap and the forecasted industry needs for the 21st century,” said Cheryl O’Connell, NIC dean of trades and technology. “The curriculums for the certificate and diploma programs were designed by faculty, the program advisory committee and subject matter experts, to address training needs while providing students with core transferable skills to enable transition and succession in the forest industry.”
The forest sector on the coast has healthy forests and a strong timber harvesting land base. It will continue to need skilled labour and professionals to fill a variety of roles, said MacLean-Marlow.
“We currently lose workers to attrition and retirement faster than we can replace them,” she said. “Employment opportunities are also becoming increasingly varied. Innovation and advances in technology, while informing the way we manage forest ecosystems, also offer a wide variety of career options.”
Applications for both the certificate and diploma programs are open now.
Virtual information sessions are also posted on each program page, for students to learn more about each program.
To learn more, or to apply, visit www.nic.bc.ca/trades.