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Overview

This page provides information and data on the Forestry sector, which is a component of the Forest and Wood Products industry. The Forestry sector comprises two sub-sectors:

  • Forest Growing and Management
  • Harvesting and Haulage.

The Forest Growing and Management sub-sector consists of businesses engaged in the management of commercial plantation estates, native forests and farm forests primarily for the production of wood and wood fibre. This sector includes the establishment of estates, access roads and management of fire breaks. Commercial forestry estate management is undertaken on behalf of the Australian state governments and private forest owners such as institutional investors, managed investment schemes, farm forest owners, timber industry companies and other private owners.

The Harvesting and Haulage sub-sector includes all enterprises that harvest forests for timber products and pulpwood, rough-hewn products (mine timbers, posts and railway sleepers) and firewood. Forest harvest enterprises are normally commissioned by forest management companies (public and private). This sub-sector also includes businesses that haul or transport logs and other forest products, produce woodchips in the field or gather forest biomass.

Vocational education and training (VET) is required in the Forestry sector in occupations such as:

  • Forestry and Logging Workers
  • Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators
  • Agricultural and Forestry Scientists.

Nationally recognised training for the Forestry sector is delivered under the FWP – Forest and Wood Products Training Package.

For information on the Timber Processing and Products and Pulp and Paper Manufacturing sectors please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Forest and Wood Products IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

All data sources are available at the end of the page.

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

In 2018 employment levels in the Forestry and Logging and Forestry Support Services, after fluctuating in the intervening years, returned to similar levels as those in 2000, and are projected to remain fairly stable over the next five years until 2023.

The three largest occupations as a proportion of the Forestry and Logging workforce are Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators (15%), Forestry and Logging Workers (15%) and Agricultural and Forestry Scientists (9%). Employment in the Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators and Agricultural and Forestry Scientists occupations are projected to increase somewhat over the next five years until 2023, however, employment in Forestry and Logging Workers is projected to decrease very slightly in the same period. Truck drivers also make up over 8% of the sector workforce with the employment level in this occupation projected to increase by a further 7% over the next five years.

Farm, Forestry and Garden Workers (Other) make up over 25% of the Forestry Support Services workforce with the occupation of Environmental Scientists accounting for a further 12%. Employment in both occupations is projected to increase over the coming five years until 2023, particularly for Environmental Scientists.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were approximately 1,500 program enrolments in Forestry-related qualifications during 2017 and over 140 completions. Both program enrolments and completions have decreased between 2014 and 2017. During 2017, the qualification of Certificate II in Forest Growing and Management accounted for more than one third of total enrolments (37%) with the Certificate III in Harvesting and Haulage also making up nearly a third (32%). Forestry Worker was the main intended occupation for the training.

The majority of training in Forestry-related qualifications was delivered by private training providers (83%) during 2017 with TAFE institutes accounting for a further 13%. Fifty-six percent of subjects at private training providers were delivered through domestic fee-for-service arrangements, with the remainder Commonwealth and state funded. TAFE institutes were mainly Commonwealth and state funded (81%). A third of students who enrolled during 2017 resided in Victoria (33%), with 27% from Queensland and 15% from Tasmania.

During 2017, there were 71 apprenticeship commencements and 27 completions in Forestry-related qualifications. Commencement numbers declined sharply between 2010 and 2011 and have remained fairly stable since then. Completion numbers have decreased overall between 2010 and 2017 after a high in 2012. The majority of apprentices undertaking qualifications at the certificate III level have the intended occupations of Logging Plant Operators; at the certificate IV level the intended occupation was Forester.

For more data specific to your occupation, industry or training package, visit NCVER’s VET students by industry.

For more data specific to your region visit NCVER’s Atlas of Total VET. If you are prompted to log in, select cancel and you will continue to be directed to the program.

If you are interested in extracting NCVER data to construct tables with data relevant to you, sign up for a VOCSTATS account.

 

 

Industry insights

Industry insights on skills needs

The Forest and Wood Products IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast identifies the following priority skills for the Forestry sector workforce in the next three to five years as:

  • New harvesting technologies
  • Forest management innovation
  • Roundwood and wood chip export skills at the portside.

The new harvesting technologies described in the above Skills Forecast include the use of geospatial technologies in forest operations, programming skills for forest technicians and supervisors to create and manage harvesting optimisation files for single grip harvester, management of electrical risks related to electrical and hydraulic maintenance of harvesting machines, application of best practices to minimise environmental footprint of forest harvesting, machine operation for steep slope terrain harvesting (tethered harvesting and cable logging harvesting), machine operation for in-field wood chipping, and debarking of logs in the forest.

Forest management innovation includes mechanical forest biomass removal for minimising bushfire risks, management and safety in farm forests, specialty timber harvesting and extraction (single tree falling and extraction in isolated areas and use of chainsaw above ground) and tree breeding knowledge to enable effective communication with genetic engineers.

Additionally, the top five generic skills in order of importance are listed as:

  • Technology use and application skills
  • Environmental and sustainability skills
  • Language, literacy and numeracy (LLN) skills
  • Design mindset / Thinking critically / Systems thinking / Problem-solving skills
  • Communication / Collaboration including virtual collaboration / Social intelligence skills.

The IRC Skills Forecast identifies attracting and recruiting young skilled people will increase in complexity for the sector. The workforce is currently dominated by pre-1980s generations, however within 10 years, as the senior workforce retires, 60% of the workforce will be from Generations X or Y. The recruitment, training and the management of up to five generations of workers may be challenges for an industry which is dominated by small- and medium-sized businesses.

Links and resources

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment 2018, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, employment projections to May 2023
    • 030 Forestry and Logging
    • 051 Forestry Support Services
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2023
    • 7211 Agricultural, Forestry and Horticultural Plant Operators
    • 8413 Forestry and Logging Workers
    • 2341 Agricultural and Forestry Scientists
    • 7331 Truck Drivers
    • 7113 Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators
    • 8419 Other Farm, Forestry and Garden Workers
    • 2343 Environmental Scientists
    • 3622 Gardeners.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2018, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), Sex, State and Territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 1 November 2018 <http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202018?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, 2000 to 2018, May Quarter
    • 030 Forestry and Logging
    • 051 Forestry Support Services.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, 2016 Census – employment, income and unpaid work, TableBuilder. Findings based on use of ABS TableBuilder data.

  • Employment level by 3 digit industry and 4 digit level occupations to identify the relevant VET-related occupations in the industry as a proportion of the total workforce
    • 030 Forestry and Logging
    • 051 Forestry Support Services.

Training data has been extracted from the National VET Provider Collection, Total VET students and courses from the following training package or qualifications:

  • FWP – Forest and Wood Products Training Package
  • Certificate II in Forest Growing and Management
    • FPI20105 - Certificate II in Forest Growing and Management
    • FPI20111 - Certificate II in Forest Growing and Management
    • FPI20113 - Certificate II in Forest Growing and Management
    • FWP20116 - Certificate II in Forest Growing and Management
  • Certificate II in Harvesting and Haulage
    • FPI20211 - Certificate II in Harvesting and Haulage
    • FPI20213 - Certificate II in Harvesting and Haulage
    • FWP20216 - Certificate II in Harvesting and Haulage
  • Certificate III in Forest Growing and Management
    • FPI30111 - Certificate III in Forest Growing and Management
    • FPI30113 - Certificate III in Forest Growing and Management
    • FPI30199 - Certificate III in Forest & Forest Products (Forest Growing & Management)
    • FWP30116 - Certificate III in Forest Growing and Management
  • Certificate III in Harvesting and Haulage
    • FPI30205 - Certificate III in Harvesting and Haulage
    • FPI30211 - Certificate III in Harvesting and Haulage
    • FPI30213 - Certificate III in Harvesting and Haulage
    • FWP30216 - Certificate III in Harvesting and Haulage
  • Certificate IV in Forest Operations
    • FWP30216 - Certificate III in Harvesting and Haulage
    • FPI40105 - Certificate IV in Forest Operations
    • FPI40111 - Certificate IV in Forest Operations
    • FWP40116 - Certificate IV in Forest Operations.

This includes superseded qualifications and training packages.

Data covers a range of selected student and training characteristics in the following categories and years:

  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 program completions.

Total VET students and courses data is reported for the calendar year. Program enrolments are the qualifications, courses and skill sets in which students are enrolled in a given period. For students enrolled in multiple programs, all programs are counted. Program completion indicates that a student has completed a structured and integrated program of education or training. Location data uses student residence. Subject enrolment is registration of a student at a training delivery location for the purpose of undertaking a module, unit of competency or subject. For more information on the terms and definitions, please refer to the Total VET students and courses: terms and definitions document.

Low counts (less than 5) are not reported to protect client confidentiality.

Percentages are rounded to one decimal place. This can lead to situations where the total sum of proportions in a chart may not add up to exactly 100%.

FWP – Forest and Wood Products Training Package apprentice and trainee data has been extracted from the National Apprentice and Trainee Collection, including:

  • 2010 to 2017 commencements
  • 2010 to 2017 completions 
  • 2017 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2017 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Forest and Wood Products IRC's 2018 Skills Forecast.

Updated: 18 Dec 2018
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