First students graduate from new forest harvesting training course

The first two students have graduated from the new forest harvesting training course, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed.

Minister of State Andrew Doyle presented QQI (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) certificates to the students at a function in Avondale House, Co. Wicklow, today.

Martin McManus and Brendan Lynch were congratulated by Minister Doyle on getting their QQI Level 5 award in forestry forwarder operations.

This is a significant day for all of us. My department, in conjunction with other stakeholders, has been involved in a number of initiatives to promote training in the forestry sector – culminating in the roll-out of the forester harvester training course.

“Today’s ceremony is the culmination of excellent collaboration between all players in the forestry sector including my Department, industry representatives, state bodies and educators. It is a fantastic example of state and private industry working together to achieve common goals,” he said.

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A harvest training simulator – launched in the Teagasc Agricultural College in Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan – serves as an important training and assessment tool for part of the programme, the minister added.

The overall project was developed by the Forest Harvesting Training Forum, which has representatives from all areas of the forestry industry.

Noting the increase in production arising from forests planted in the 1980s and 1990s, as well as the forecast increase in roundwood production, Minister Doyle said: “A shortage of trained forestry harvesting operators would create a serious impediment to the mobilisation of Irish timber.

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This in turn would have a detrimental impact on both the forestry and timber processing sectors, as it would impact on the continuous supply of timber for processing.

“To ensure that we can mobilise the levels of timber required to meet demand, it is essential that we have a skilled, properly-trained workforce on the ground to harvest the timber and that is one of the reasons why this training initiative is so important,” he concluded.

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