Funding to help forestry school to hit the ground running

Source: Paper Advance Archives

Heather Lynch

Students looking to study forestry in Vancouver may have another incentive to do so; Vancouver Island University is pumping $1M in federal funding into the purchase of equipment for a mobile forestry skills training program.

The University expects the investment will benefit hand fallers, logging truck drivers and forestry technicians, who will have the advantage of not needing to leave their communities in order to learn new skills; the training unit will be mobile and able to move across the Island to remote communities, the Nanaimo News Bulletin recently reported.

"What it will be is a truck and a trailer and it will house a number of simulators from load building equipment-type simulators to forestry simulators, so the truck could have anywhere from six to eight simulators in it. The simulators are quite real-life, they actually move," the Nanaimo News Bulletin reported Glynis Steen, the University's interim dean of trades and applied technology, as saying.

With each simulator costing approximately $70-$80K, the school expects to purchase roughly eight to ten new ones, thanks to funding provided through a Western Economic Diversification (WED) Program. The Federal agency invests in projects and activities that will help improve productivity and competitiveness through the development, adoption and commercialization of new technologies and business processes in western Canada.

The Nanaimo News Bulletin reported Canada's Minister of State for WED, Michelle Rempel as saying the government has been seeking ways to improve the sustainability of the forestry sector in Canada, and that one way in which to do that is to facilitate the skilled labor it requires. "That's why we're looking at it from a multi-faceted approach and certainly the announcement to provide mobile skills training [that can be brought to] people in rural and remote communities, is I think, a positive thing for the sector as a whole," Rempel said.