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June 09th, 2020

Hardworking apprentice wins southern forestry award

Although wood councils across New Zealand had to cancel their annual awards programmes this year, the Southern Wood Council still gave out one major award.

The 2020 Forestry Apprentice of the Year award for the lower South Island was independently judged and prizes were awarded to the winner and runners-up.

Those who had completed their apprenticeship programme in the training year 01 April 2019 to 31 March 2020, had just one opportunity to be eligible for this award. The council felt it was only fitting the industry fully recognise the real commitment these young people had made to further their training.

It received five outstanding nominations from young contractors working in harvesting crews from South Canterbury to Western Southland.

The overall winner for 2020 was Jordan Muru, known as Jordy. He works for MJ Logging, a four-man mechanised ground-based crew based in Geraldine.

The council said Jordy's progression from school to winning a major award was a testament to his dedication to training, the investment made by MJ Logging owner Matt Jordan in helping him develop skills, and the region's induction and training programmes.

Jordy was originally involved in the Primary Industry Academy Programme at Geraldine High School. As part of that course, he visited Port Blakely's Geraldine forestry operations.

He liked what he saw and began considering a career in forestry. Through the programme, he started work experience visits one day a week with various Port Blakely harvesting crews.

After a few months of these visits, Jordy was offered a full-time job with MJ Logging.

He was enrolled in the apprenticeship programme administered by Competenz to accelerate his learning, and the five-week block courses offered to young apprentices at Mike Hurring's training facility in Balclutha.

"Jordy's main role in the crew is managing the skid site, including fleeting, sorting, stacking and loading-trucks," Port Blakely Harvesting Operations Manager Barry Wells said.

"This can be a high-pressure situation at times but Jordy is good at his job. He's able to work calmly and doesn't lose his cool under pressure.

"Jordy has a number of attributes and characteristics that help him within the crew, and life in general. He has a good work ethic, he's cautious and he's safe. He asks questions, follows instructions, and picks up new tasks quickly. He also fits in with the crew really well, which is important."

Mr Wells said he wished more young people would come into the industry with Jordy's enthusiasm, attitude and thirst for learning.

"Without doubt, Jordan must be one of the most passionate and committed young apprentices working in the Southland and Otago region today," Port Blakely Managing Director Philip Taylor said.

Jordy received a trophy, framed certificate, a $500 cheque, $750 of Stihl vouchers sponsored by the Stihl Shop Milton and a $500 Protos Integral Forestry Helmet sponsored by CRS Communications.

The runners-up were Jackson Hopkins, of Mike Hurring Logging, and Jackson McCallum, of McCallum Harvesting.

The council said the calibre of young apprentices coming through showed the industry was really well placed to thrive.