Key forestry skills programmes & qualifications approved

Keren Biggs from LESH, conducting pre-assessments for entry into the current Forestry Supervisor Development Programme in Melmoth. These assessments may be extended to the newly registered Foreman qualification.

The approval of six new skills programmes and two qualifications is great news for workers and employers in the forestry industry as they provide a sound framework for upgrading key skills and competencies that will bring significant benefits for the industry. They also provide valuable opportunities for forestry workers to upgrade their skills and qualifications in a structured, relevant system, providing stepping stones for further studies that will take their careers to a higher level.

The following skills programmes were evaluated and approved by the Quality Council for Trades and Occupations (QCTO) in September:-

Chainsaw Operator323
Aerial Chainsaw Operator336
Specialised Chainsaw Operator315
Forestry Hazard & Risk Assessor435
Forestry Incident Investigator432
Forestry SHE Representative339

The SA Qualifications Authority NQF Committee has approved the registration of the following qualifications on the NQF framework:- 

Occupational Certificate: Forestry Production Foreman496119462
Occupational Certificate: Forestry Production & Operations Foreman4240119447
Brian Windt, one of the Qualifications Development Facilitators that were instrumental in developing the Chainsaw Operator Skills programmes, conducting critical chainsaw training with Sappi management and contractor supervisors in Bulwer.

“We look forward to implementing these skills programmes and qualifications together with our registered Skills Development Providers together with our contractors and industry role players,” commented Pam Naidoo of the SA Forestry Contractors’ Association. “We continue to champion skills development in the forestry industry for the upskilling of all our contractor and stakeholder employees,” she said.

Pam said that industry representatives had made good progress in the development of three new skills programmes that would be ready for registration by the QCTO in the near future, namely:-
• Silviculture Machine Operator
• Logging Plant Operator
• Small Power Tool Operator

The experts involved in the development of Forestry Skills Programmes include representatives from the following stakeholder organisations: Sappi, Mondi, SAFCOL, FITPA, SAFCA, FSA, Husqvarna, Stihl, FPMSETA, QCTO and Nelson Mandela University.

A chainsaw operator trainee demonstrating the correct way to fell a tree (Photo courtesy KwaMahlati Training).

Hamba Kahle Daniel

It is with great sadness that the Kwamahlati Training Services team reports the passing of one of their key members, Themba Daniel Mlindazwe. Daniel passed away after being involved in a car accident on Sunday 3rd July. He was hospitalised, but his injuries were too great resulting in his passing on Friday 8th July.

Daniel formally started work with Ashley Diack at Kwamahlati Training Services in May 2006, and had 17 years of unbroken service with the company.

“Daniel was a man of exceptional training talent. He was well liked by trainees and our trainers for his exceptional training skills and ability to impart his knowledge in a meaningful and practical way,” commented Kwamahlathi’s current MD, James Ballantyne.

“Many clients specifically asked for Daniel to do the training, such was his reputation,” added James.

Many of the supervisors and foremen in the industry have been taught by Daniel, and he will be sorely missed by all.

“Daniel was a very private person and was deeply religious, and we wish him ‘God speed’. We also wish his family our deepest condolences and know that Daniel has been called to a higher order by his Maker,” said James.

Commented Ashley Diack, Kwamahlati founder: “Our relationship with Daniel goes back to early 2006, when we first began talking about starting the business. Realising that we would need a team of skilled and knowledgeable people, we decided to approach Daniel Mlindazwe, who at the time was working for S.O.S. Contractors, and was well known and respected for his experience in forestry.

“Being the cautious and loyal person that he was, Daniel was initially very reluctant to consider changing his job to join a brand new business – but we finally convinced him that it was a good opportunity to further his career.

“Fortunately for us Daniel's boss at the time, Sean O'Sullivan, did not stand in his way, realising that this was an opportunity for Daniel, and so they parted on very good terms. Right from the beginning, Daniel showed his enthusiasm and dedication for helping to grow Kwamahlati, and to becoming well known and respected among all our customers. It was quite difficult at times, when we received a request to conduct a training course, and the customer insisted that they only wanted Daniel Mlindazwe to carry out the training!

“He was not only a crucial part of the Kwamahlati team, but also a voice of wisdom whenever there were difficult decisions to be made,” added Ashley.

Messages of support also came from long-time friend and colleague Michael Hlengwa, Pam Naidoo from SAFCA and Baba Duma from SOS Contractors.