Growing up in the Ottawa Valley, Derek Nighbor appreciated from a young age the importance of the forest sector to the local economy.
“My brother and I were fortunate enough to earn good money in the summer on the same corrugated box making factory floor where my grandfather and father earned their livelihoods,” said the CEO of of the Forest Products Association of Canada, which in June launched a job-matching tool that assists both recruiters and those looking for employment within the industry.
“With more than 230,000 direct forestry jobs in Canada today, we continue to see opportunities on the horizon for young and more experienced workers in a host of job areas in forest operations, at mills, head offices and in the design, marketing and manufacturing of innovative forest products.”
One of the biggest labour challenges in the industry is ensuring that the right people trained to do the jobs that are going to be in demand not only today, but tomorrow.
The Forest Products Association of Canada’s job-matching tool supports matching job hunters with job opportunities, thereby supporting economic growth in communities across Canada.
This new tool (thegreenestworkforce.ca), which is free for both employment seekers and employers, will not only support those looking for work in the forest sector, but it will also provide advanced labour market information that can be used to help forestry companies with their recruitment efforts, allow governments to develop public policies to better address employment needs, and support our high schools, colleges and universities by informing students about the career opportunities that exist in Canada’s forest sector.
“One of the things that has dramatically changed since my summer stints on the plant floor in Pembroke, Ont. is the technological transformation that has happened across industry,” said Nighbor.
“From the sophisticated software that helps run everything from our mills to our back-end delivery systems to the innovative new uses for wood products (clothing, cosmetics and even parts for the interior of your car) to the various technologies that help us maintain our sustainable forestry models and practices, the images of the traditional lumberjack are more than a little outdated.”
Today’s modern forestry operations are looking for engineers, computer scientists, biologists, mill operators, environmental scientists, and specialists in human resources, communications, the law, accounting and finance.
Forestry companies will always need foresters and loggers, too.
“The industry has changed a great deal. It’s more diverse, more high-tech and more sophisticated in its pursuit of sustainability,” Nighbour said. “Those advances, according to an international survey released earlier this year, have helped our industry earn the best reputation in the world for its environmental practices.”