Forest sector losing jobs — but desperately needs more skilled workers

By Jon Hernandez

May 08, 2017
CBC News

As steady streams of raw logs flow overseas, and hefty softwood lumber bills blockade the south, B.C.’s forest sector can look gloomy on the horizon. …But some businesses are facing the opposite problem: technical jobs are going unfilled due to a shortage of skilled workers. “We have more work than we can shake a stick at,” said Jonathan Lok, managing partner at Strategic Natural Resource Consultants, a forest management firm. And the shortage — brought on by a confluence of retiring workers and disinterested millennials — can mean less timber on the market. Lok says there’s a hot demand for forest technologists — skilled workers who help develop environmental assessments, map out proposed cut blocks, and plan for harvesting and replanting.​ …According to Steve Finn, head of BCIT’s Forest and Natural Areas Management program, forestry has gotten a bit of a ‘bad rap’ in recent years as not being a viable career option for millennials, which he says is partly attributable to the demand for jobs.

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