The forest industry offers a wide range of careers depending on your skills and what you enjoy doing. A forestry career can give you the opportunity to work outdoors or indoors, work with the latest technology and machinery or work with animals and plants. Its about long term, strategic planning (few other industries plan up to 30 years out) and about what’s happening next week!

For those who enjoy the outdoor life and sport, and the friendship of being with similar people, you’ll probably enjoy a physical career such as planting and harvesting or being involved with roading. Being healthy and motivated is a big bonus, as a front line forestry worker needs to be as fit as an athlete and have a good understanding of hydration and nutrition.

The industry is going through big technological changes with computer based modelling, mapping (GIS – Geographic Information Systems) and forest record keeping systems. Mechanised harvesting systems have improved harvesting capacity and safety in-forest while the use of electronic calipers and other measuring equipment makes light work of obtaining data on stand and log quality.
In fact almost any career that you can think of has its place in forestry. Not all career options are available on the West Coast but as forestry is big nationally and New Zealand is very good at it, chances are that it won’t be too difficult to find a future that you can grow to where you want to go. The opportunities for skilled workers are equally bright internationally. Some people choose to use their skills working with communities in developing countries, such is the high regard that New Zealand foresters are held.
Plantation forestry is about adding value to a sustainable resource that contributes to the West Coast’s economy and its about caring for the environment. If these are important to you, forestry is a good career option to explore.

Access to the industry is on a number of levels. Some enter through the Modern Apprenticeship Scheme, gaining NZQA units towards a nationally recognised certificate. Nelson Polytechnic offers six month certificate level training as well as a National Diploma in Forestry (Forestry Management) taking 2.5 years, or a number of polytechnics and universities offer various degree courses, certificates and diplomas in different facets of the timber industry.