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Wallace launches Forestry Training Initiative

Mary Wallace T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, with responsibility for Forestry, today launched a joint training initiative with the forest industry group, Forestry Training and Education Ireland (FTEI).

The launch took place at Avondale House, Co. Wicklow, the ancestral home of Charles Stuart Parnell. The House and grounds were purchased by the State in 1904 and became the centre for forestry training in Ireland.

Welcoming the initiative, Minister of State Wallace commented, "It must be remembered that the development of this initiative is very much on the lines of a cooperative model with organisations within the industry participating fully in the development and the direction of the project" and added "I think everyone had recognised for some time the need for the different forestry organisations to work together to address the most critical needs for training support and also to put a structure in place to facilitate a greater level of input by the sector in the prioritisation of training needs and the distribution of available funding".

It was noted that forestry across Europe faces similar challenges with labour. The seasonal nature of the industry and the sometimes physical and intensive nature of the work means that there is often a high turnover of staff in certain areas. The main focus of the initiative at present is on the provision of skills training and tendering for the delivery of the training on a competitive basis. This means that the delivery of almost all courses will be put out to tender, allowing all qualified trainers an opportunity to compete for the contracts.

The Minister of State thanked all involved in the Forestry Training and Education Ireland initiative and added "I am very pleased and encouraged by how the industry has come together and worked so well over the last couple of years to get this group up and running. I appreciate all the hard work that has gone into this and believe that the industry will see the benefits of this new approach to training over the coming years".

FTEI has an office in Main Street, Delvin, Co. Westmeath and can also be contacted by e-mailing info@ftei.

Further information can also be obtained at www.ftei.ie.

22 November 2007

Date Released: 22 November 2007