In 2021, twenty-year-old Kylie Kemp was nominated – and subsequently won – the Tasmanian Timber Award for Trainee of the Year (large organisation). The Sustainable Timber Tasmania worker was nominated for her highly motivated and professional work ethic and was highlighted as a fine example of the next generation of foresters.
This month the Network caught up with Kylie, two years on, to see what she’s up to and why she thinks it’s important that young people are recognised for their achievements.
How did you feel being named the Tasmanian Timber Awards’ large organisation Trainee of the Year in 2021?
Kylie pictured with her Trainee of the Year (large organisation) award, alongside runner up, Luke Chamley.
I was super nervous about the nomination and had no real concept of how big an event like this was!
I was completely shocked that I won Trainee of the Year – at the time, I was just happy to have a job! I had no idea I could win an award for doing something I loved so much.
Do you encourage others to nominate for this award?
I absolutely recommend everyone to nominate a trainee who they believe deserves to be recognised for the achievements they have made and their passion for the forest industry.
What is your current role at STT and what does it involve on a day-to-day basis?
I’m currently a Forest Officer in planning at STT, looking after the east coast district. Day to day jobs consist of the production of Forest Practice Plans, creating the three-year Wood Volume Plan and tactical plan for the east district.
I am also fortunate to be involved in larger planning projects like the wedge-tailed eagle searching program and the regeneration burning period, as well as assist in wildfires and fuel reduction burns.
When did you begin to consider forestry as a career? Were there many opportunities to learn about this industry when you were at school?
I was in the last year of my college experience at New Norfolk District High and was interested in any job that would give me a chance to work out in the bush. At school there was a program called ‘Learning Through Internship’ and that brought me to Sustainable Timber Tasmania.
In school the education around forestry was very limited and there were not many opportunities to learn about the industry.
Kylie sorting through seeds
What do you think might encourage more young people to consider working in this industry?
I think highlighting the opportunities and skills you are able to learn within the industry would encourage more young people to consider a career within the forest industry. The unknown is what scares a lot of people from applying for a job or taking a leap of faith. If the forestry had more of a presence within our education curriculum it would help to breakdown some of the unknown.
What are the biggest challenges in your job?
The biggest challenge I face in my job is the ever-changing environment. The forest industry has become very precise, which is a complex challenge in all aspects. The management of different threatened species is constantly changing and the expectations of what we as foresters can do to manage our forests is changing along with it.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
I really enjoy exploring the state. I’m very lucky to call this my job, and no two days are the same –whether I’m in a helicopter, car, or walking, I get to see places that most don’t get the opportunity to see. I absolutely love living and working in Tassie – it’s an amazing place to call home.
What do you see yourself doing professionally in 10 years?
I see myself still working within the industry – in what capacity, I’m not sure. I don’t think I’ll be able to leave the forest industry now I’m in it.
How do you think the Tasmanian forest industry will change in the next decade?
I believe our industry will change dramatically in the next decade. In other states across Australia, we can see that native forest industry on the brink; however, I don’t necessarily believe that plantations are the saving grace either. This is a tricky question with multiple scenarios of what could happen, but I hope the industry is well supported through all the change that is to come.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I really enjoy spending spare time with friends and family. I have a few pets at my mother’s place in the Midlands. I’ve also ridden horses since I can remember, and love to spend as much time as I can with them.
Not many people know that I… Dropped out of traditional high school in year nine and completed it at E-school which is an online school for people with social anxiety or who live far from townships with schools. This gave me the ability to complete my studies and meet likeminded people. I decided in year 11 that Iwanted to go back to a traditional school and completed my last year of college at New Norfolk District School.
To nominate a Trainee of the Year or learn more about the other 11 awards on offer this year, visit: TTA Award Categories – Tasmanian Forest and Forest Products Network (tffpn.com.au)