cancel
search
Search by IRC, Industry, sector, training package, IRC skills forecast or occupation.

Timber Processing and Products

Overview

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

  • Sawmilling and Processing
  • Timber Manufactured Products
  • Wood Panel and Board Production
  • Timber Merchandising.

The Sawmilling and Processing sub-sector includes primary processing activities that transform logs from trees into a range of products using sawing, peeling and chipping processes.

The Timber Manufactured Products sub-sector sources timber from sawmills and other upstream timber processing enterprises to manufacture wooden structural components/systems and other timber products. 

The Wood Panel and Board Production sub-sector incorporates all enterprises that manufacture wood panel from wood chips, sawdust, wood shavings, slabwood or off-cuts. The sub-sector also includes the manufacture of the following products from logs or sawn timber: laminations of timber (Glulam and I-Beam); and veneer, plywood and Laminated Veneer Lumber (LVL).

The Timber Merchandising sub-sector operates via two major channels:

  • retail and trade merchants selling and providing advice to the public, DIY market, and builders
  • wholesalers, manufacturers, importers and exporters selling, importing and/or exporting large volumes of hardwood and softwood products and distributing them through the merchant sector or directly to the building industry.

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

  • Carpenters and Joiners
  • Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators
  • Timber and Wood Process Workers
  • Wood Machinists and Other Wood Trades Workers.

Nationally recognised training for the Timber Processing and Products sector is delivered under the FWP - Forest and Wood Products Training Package.

For information on the Forestry and Pulp and Paper Manufacturing sectors please visit the respective pages.

Information sourced from the Timber and Wood Processing IRC/Timber Building Solutions IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017-2020.

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

IRC and Skills Forecasts

Employment trends

Employment snapshot

The Log Sawmilling and Timber Dressing and Other Wood Product Manufacturing industry sectors have seen a fall in employment levels overall between 2000 and 2017. However, the Timber and Hardware Goods Wholesaling industry sector has seen employment levels rise over the same time period. There have been significant fluctuations in employment levels in these industry sectors over the last decade.

The occupations of Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators and Timber and Wood Process Workers make up over 40% of the Log Sawmilling and Timber Dressing industry sector workforce. The employment level for Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators is projected to remain stable over the next five years until 2022, however the employment level for Timber and Wood Process Workers is projected to decline substantially over the same period.

Cabinetmakers make up nearly a quarter of the Other Wood Product Manufacturing workforce with Carpenters and Joiners making up a further 8%. Employment levels for both of these occupations are projected to remain reasonably stable over the next five years until 2022.

Training trends

Training snapshot

There were nearly 840 program enrolments in Timber Processing and Products-related qualifications during 2016 and approximately 130 completions. Enrolments increased between 2014 and 2016, with completion numbers remaining relatively stable.

The majority of enrolments in 2016 were at the certificate II and III levels in Sawmilling and Processing and Timber Merchandising qualifications. For those enrolled in Sawmilling and Processing qualifications the intended occupation was Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators. Timber Merchandising qualifications had an intended occupation of either Sales Representatives or Other Sales Assistants and Salespersons.

For enrolments during 2016, nearly 70% of training was delivered by private training providers with TAFE accounting for a further 28%. There was some variance in provider type between different qualifications. For example, TAFE delivered approximately 64% of training for the Certificates II and III in Timber Merchandising with private training providers making up the other 36% whereas in the Certificates II and III in Sawmilling and Processing TAFE accounted for a much smaller proportion of training (only 4%) with the majority delivered by private training providers (96%).

Funding source also differed between provider type; virtually all subjects delivered by TAFE were government funded however for private training providers the government funded proportion dropped to 84% with domestic fee for service making up the other 16%.

Approximately 45% of students who enrolled during 2016 were from Victoria, a further 24% were from New South Wales, and just over 20% were from Queensland.

During 2016, there were 168 apprenticeship commencements and 100 completions in Timber Processing and Products-related qualifications. Commencement numbers declined between 2010 and 2013 and have remained fairly stable since then. Completion numbers rose between 2010 and 2012 and have fallen since - reaching a low in 2016. The training had a variety of intended occupations depending on the qualification being studied. As at December 2016 the majority of apprentices in training were reported from the eastern states.

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 Timber and Wood Processing IRC/Timber Building Solutions IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017-2020 identifies the top priority skills for the Timber Processing workforce in the next three to five years as:

  • skills in manufacturing solid engineered wood products (cross-laminated timber (CLT) and Glulam)
  • bioenergy, cogeneration and biochar skills
  • log sawing optimisation skills
  • skills for efficient timber product supply operations and chain of custody
  • timber product development/innovation skills.

The top priority skills for the Timber Building Solutions workforce are listed as:

  • skills in loading/unloading long timber beams, and frames and trusses safely
  • improved truss and frame estimating and detailing skills
  • skills in prefabrication of panelised building systems (walls, flooring and celling panels) and on-site installation
  • advanced sales, marketing and customer service skills.

Additionally the IRC Skills Forecast identifies an ageing workforce as a challenge for the sector through the loss of key skills and the skills gaps created by retiring workers. It is estimated that over 20% of the workforce will be retiring in the next five to ten years. The coming workforce retirement is likely to bring with it increased job vacancies across the sector and will require significant efforts from employers to ensure the future skills needs of the sector are met.

Links and resources

Below is a list of industry-relevant organisations and associations. Hyperlinks have been included where available.

Industry associations and advisory bodies

Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) National

Engineered Wood Products Association of Australasia (EWPAA)

Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA)

Forest Industries Association of Tasmania (FIAT)

Forest Industries Federation WA (FIFWA)

ForestWorks

Frame & Truss Manufacturers Association of Australia (FTMA)

Glued Laminated Timber Association of Australia (GLTAA)

Tasmanian Sawmillers Association (TSA)

Timber & Building Materials Association (TABMA)

Timber Communities Australia (TCA) National

Timber Development Association of NSW (TDA)

Timber Merchants Australia (TMA)

Timber NSW

Timber Preservers Association of Australia (TPAA)

Timber Queensland

Timber Trade Industrial Association (TTIA)

Timber Veneer Association of Australia

Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI)

 

Government bodies

National Timber Councils Association (NTCA)

 

Employee associations

Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU)

Australian Workers' Union (AWU)

CFMEU Forestry and Furnishing

 

Relevant research

Blueprint for the future South Australian forest and wood products industry (2014-2040) - South Australian Forest Industry Advisory Board

Industry review 2016 - Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI)

Industry skills scan 2015 - ForestWorks Industry Skills Council (Australia)

Thin markets: improving workforce development opportunities in thin markets of the food, fibre and timber industries - Food, Fibre and Timber Industries Training Council (WA)

Data sources and notes

Department of Employment, 2017, Employment Projections, available from the Labour Market Information Portal  

  • by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, employment projections to May 2022
    • 141 Log Sawmilling and Timber Dressing
    • 149 Other Wood Product Manufacturing
    • 333 Timber and Hardware Goods Wholesaling
  • by ANZSCO, selected occupations, employment projections to May 2022
    • 7113 Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators
    • 8394 Timber and Wood Process Workers
    • 3232 Metal Fitters and Machinists
    • 3941 Cabinetmakers
    • 3312 Carpenters and Joiners
    • 3942 Wood Machinists and Other Wood Trades Workers
    • 7113 Paper and Wood Processing Machine Operators
    • 6211 Sales Assistants (General)
    • 6113 Sales Representatives
    • 7411 Storepersons
    • 7331 Truck Drivers.

Australian Bureau of Statistics 2017, Employed persons by Industry group of main job (ANZSIC), sex, state and territory, November 1984 onwards, 6291.0.55.003 - EQ06, viewed 31 January 2018 < http://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@.nsf/DetailsPage/6291.0.55.003May%202017?OpenDocument>

  • Employed total by ANZSIC 3 digit industry, 2000 to 2017, May Quarter
    • 141 Log Sawmilling and Timber Dressing
    • 149 Other Wood Product Manufacturing
    • 333 Timber and Hardware Goods Wholesaling.

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
    • 141 Log Sawmilling and Timber Dressing
    • 149 Other Wood Product Manufacturing
    • 333 Timber and Hardware Goods Wholesaling.                                                                                                                               

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
    • FWP20316 - Certificate II in Sawmilling and Processing
    • FWP30316 - Certificate III in Sawmilling and Processing
    • FWP30516 - Certificate III in Timber Manufactured Products
    • FWP30616 - Certificate III in Timber Merchandising
    • FWP30716 - Certificate III in Sawdoctoring
    • FWP30816 - Certificate III in Woodmachining
    • FWP30916 - Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacture
    • FWP40216 - Certificate IV in Timber Processing
    • FWP40416 - Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design
    • FPI20299 - Certificate II in Forest & Forest Products (Wood Panel Products)
    • FPI20305 - Certificate II in Sawmilling and Processing
    • FPI20311 - Certificate II in Sawmilling and Processing
    • FPI20405 - Certificate II in Wood Panel Products
    • FPI20499 - Certificate II in Forest & Forest Products (Timber Manufactured Products)
    • FPI20505 - Certificate II in Timber Manufactured Products
    • FPI20511 - Certificate II in Timber Manufactured Products
    • FPI20599 - Certificate II in Forest & Forest Products (Timber Merchandising)
    • FPI20605 - Certificate II in Timber Merchandising
    • FPI20611 - Certificate II in Timber Merchandising
    • FPI20699 - Certificate II in Forest & Forest Products (Sawmilling & Processing)
    • FPI30299 - Certificate III in Forest & Forest Products (Wood Panel Products)
    • FPI30305 - Certificate III in Sawmilling and Processing
    • FPI30311 - Certificate III in Sawmilling and Processing
    • FPI30405 - Certificate III in Wood Panel Products
    • FPI30499 - Certificate III in Forest & Forest Products (Timber Manufactured Products)
    • FPI30505 - Certificate III in Timber Manufactured Products
    • FPI30511 - Certificate III in Timber Manufactured Products
    • FPI30599 - Certificate III in Forest & Forest Products (Timber Merchandising)
    • FPI30605 - Certificate III in Timber Merchandising
    • FPI30611 - Certificate III in Timber Merchandising
    • FPI30699 - Certificate III in Forest & Forest Products (Sawmilling & Processing)
    • FPI30705 - Certificate III in Sawdoctoring
    • FPI30711 - Certificate III in Sawdoctoring
    • FPI30805 - Certificate III in Woodmachining
    • FPI30811 - Certificate III in Woodmachining
    • FPI30910 - Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacture
    • FPI30911 - Certificate III in Timber Truss and Frame Design and Manufacture
    • FPI40205 - Certificate IV in Timber Processing
    • FPI40211 - Certificate IV in Timber Processing
    • FPI40299 - Certificate IV in Forest & Forest Products (Wood Panel Products)
    • FPI40310 - Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Manufacture
    • FPI40311 - Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Manufacture
    • FPI40410 - Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design
    • FPI40411 - Certificate IV in Timber Truss and Frame Design
    • FPI40499 - Certificate IV in Forest & Forest Products (Timber Manufactured Products)
    • FPI40599 - Certificate IV in Forest & Forest Products (Timber Merchandising)
    • FPI40699 - Certificate IV in Forest & Forest Products (Sawmilling & Processing)
    • FPI50199 - Diploma of Forest & Forest Products (Forest Growing & Management)
    • FPI50105 - Diploma of Forest and Forest Products
    • FPI50111 - Diploma of Forest and Forest Products
    • FPI50310 - Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame Manufacture
    • FPI50410 - Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame Design
    • FPI50411 - Diploma of Timber Truss and Frame Design
    • FPI50699 - Diploma of Forest & Forest Products (Sawmilling & Processing)
    • FPI50799 - Diploma of Forest & Forest Products (Management).

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 program enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 subject enrolments
  • 2014, 2015, 2016 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 2016 commencements
  • 2010 to 2016 completions 
  • 2016 apprentices and trainees in-training October to December 2016 collection, by qualification and state and territory of data submitter.

Priority skills data have been extracted from the Timber and Wood Processing IRC/Timber Building Solutions IRC Skills Forecast and Proposed Schedule of Work 2017-2020.

Updated: 11 Oct 2018
To Top