Tech to help grow workforce

UNIQUE LOOK: Sustainable Forest Management regional forester Courtney Pink filmed content for the virtual reality experience at Glencoe Nursery.

STUDENTS from across Australia will be given an immersive virtual experience of living and working in the Green Triangle forestry region under a new program aimed at attracting the next generation of foresters.

The two-minute Virtual Reality tours will put students in the shoes of foresters and ecologists working in the field, with 360-degree camera technology used in producing the industry experience.

The Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub partnered with ForestLearning, the country’s peak forest and wood product education portal, to highlight the variety of career pathways and diverse work tasks within the forestry field.

ForestVR technology debuted nationally in classrooms last year with a catalogue of footage taking students on virtual excursion to difficult to access locations highlighting forest and timber processing in the region.

The free experiences, which were produced via a productive partnership with peak teacher association groups and industry, can be accessed using digital and cardboard VR headsets, iPads, laptaps or smart boards for whole of class activities, making it accessible for classroom environments.

Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub chair Ian McDonnell hoped the promotion would inspire a new generation of foresters to the field, highlighting the sustainable and diverse nature of the work.

“The industry is faced with a national shortage of foresters, with local growers often forced to look globally to recruit staff,” Mr McDonnell said.

“Forestry provides a long-term secure career path for people who are interested in building their scientific and business expertise, are data and technology driven and enjoy working outdoors.

“Demand for these roles is going to grow in the future as we look to expand the forestry estate and gain more timber from existing plantations to meet growing domestic and global demand.

“The next generation, who have excellent technology skills, are going to be pivotal in achieving our strategic


Sustainable Forest Management regional forester Courtney Pink, featured in a short video, is a regional forester based in Mount Gambier who studied a Bachelor of Forest Science and Management at Southern Cross University.

Ms Pink said her love of nature and being outdoors inspired her career path.

“Forestry provides a lot of freedom. I love being able to work freely indoors or outdoors,” she said.

“We have peak intense periods of operations and other times we get to breathe in the fresh air that we create by growing trees.

“I love that its strategic and all about problem solving – plus I get to play with some cool toys like helicopters, drones and heavy machinery.”

The Australian Government has partnered with industry organisations around Australia, including the Green Triangle Forest Industries Hub, to expand the ForestVR toolkit with five new ForestVR experiences showcasing careers in forest and wood products, forest science explorers, and agroforestry.

All new experiences will be accessible for schools and the general public by Term 4 via the ForestVR app, ForestLearning website, as well as peak education career websites.