Date Posted: 09.11.2016

Andrew Doyle, T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry, today announced the development of a training course for forest machine operators at the Teagasc Agricultural College, in Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan. The Minister also unveiled a new harvester/forwarder simulator, which will form an important element in the training.

State of the Art Forestry Harvester / Forwarder Simulator

Speaking at the announcement, the Minister said "A vibrant forestry sector provides an important source of revenue for the rural economy. The increase in timber production requires a trained workforce to enable harvesting, extraction and transporting of this timber. The training programme now being put in place will deliver recognised certification for students and is an important step in underpinning this sector"

The COFORD Report, "Mobilising Ireland's forest resource", noted that provision of a well-organised and structured training programme for harvesting machine operators is needed at national level in order to support high quality thinning operations and aid in the mobilisation of roundwood. The training programme now being put in place will deliver recognised certification for students to QQI and City and Guilds standards. The new course, to be located at the Teagasc Agricultural College in Ballyhaise, Co. Cavan, will mean that students can learn these new skills here in Ireland rather than having to travel abroad.

Minister Doyle also highlighted the Forest Roads Scheme and his recent announcement about the provision of support for the adoption of Central Tyre inflation technology by timber hauliers as measures being taken by his Department to encourage and facilitate the mobilisation of the existing timber resource with the new forest machine operator course also contributing to that objective.

Concluding, the Minister welcomed the co-operation between industry representative groups and educators in the development of the training initiative and congratulated all of the parties represented on the Forest Machine Operator Training Group for their vision and commitment in bringing the project to fruition.

"The lessons learned in the classroom and on the simulator can be taken to the next level on actual harvesters and forwarders. The commitments given by industry representatives will enable this continuity which will enhance the effectiveness and success of the course" said Minister Doyle


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