TFFPN Manager Workforce and Diversity, Tracey Taylor represented the Workforce Development + Diversity Project Reference Group in accepting a certificate as a finalist in the FPA Excellence in Community Relations in regard to Forest Practices award category at the presentation in Launceston on 19 October 2022.
This award recognises any individual, business unit or organisation that proactively engages with diverse communities, resulting in improved public understanding and support for the forest practices system.
Tracey said this award recognises the leadership from our industry in the development of a Forest Industry Diversity Action Plan that aims to foster a sense of belonging by supporting the current workforce to connect with each other, as well as connect with people outside the forest industry and more broadly with the community.
“Like the Forest Practice System, the success of this project is very much dependant on fostering cooperation amongst stakeholders and is focused on providing education and training to our stakeholders to facilitate ongoing change” she said.
“The project recognises that a diverse and inclusive forest industry workforce will—by the fact that it is diverse and inclusive—connect more meaningfully with the community and therefore lead to improved social acceptance of the industry and improved understanding amongst the community of the importance of the sector. This increased connection between forestry and the community can only be of benefit to the co-regulatory approach that the forest practices system uses.”
Developing the Diversity Action Plan has involved consultation across the sector and leadership from a 30-member Reference Group with representatives from the forest industry and the community. This group has provided guidance in drafting the plan and are committed to being ambassadors of forest industry diversity and inclusion within the sector and the broader community. This group has committed to meeting monthly, to participating in diversity and inclusion training and to sharing the importance of diversity and inclusion with their broader networks.
The non-forest industry members of this group have had the opportunity to connect with forest industry leaders, to improve their understanding of the forest sector and the opportunities within our communities. The connections within this group will facilitate further relationships across the entire sector as well as within the Tasmanian community and provide a platform for increased community engagement in the industry— particularly in their understanding of careers.
Tracey explained that the Diversity Action Plan has the vision of a GREAT Tasmanian forest industry of choice, with a diverse and skilled workforce that is inclusive of all Tasmanians.
“To achieve this GREAT Vision, the sector needs to grow a workforce that is representative of the community and has the skills needed for the industry to thrive,” she said.
The TFFPN has facilitated this project by engaging broadly with both the forest industry and the broader community in recognition that change can only happen when individuals are empowered.
“Respected and Respectful is key to our GREAT Vision with an outcome of the Tasmanian forest industry being understood and highly regarded by Tasmanians as a socially, environmentally, and economically respectful and sustainable industry.
“By better connecting within the industry and within the community, there will be a greater understanding of what the Tasmanian forest practices system is and an acknowledgement that it supports our communities and is inclusive of all Tasmanians,” Tracey said.