text size
  • -
  • =
  • text size
  • +

TCA: Young Community Ambassadors Initiative is underway

October 3rd, 2016

TCA logo






TCA’s most important 2016 initiative got off to a great start on 1st June in wintery Canberra. It’s an intensive development program to encourage and equip the under 35’s to more confidentially take a lead and communicate about the forest and wood products sector in their own regions.

TCA appreciates the opportunity Komatsu Forests provided to announce the launch at their AUSTimber cocktail party. The timeline was tight to promote and receive applications from interested candidates and from sponsoring partners. National Coordinator Helen Murray and Board member Stacey Gardiner held phone interviews. Five places were offered, with four of the five able to commence in June.

TCA congratulates the talented group of Young Community Ambassadors, who are:
Leilani Dawes, who is from the Mt Lofty region of South Australia. She is interested in encouraging South Australia’s school children and others to better appreciate the region’s forests through recreational activities. Leilani works for ForestrySA and studied conservation and biodiversity in Adelaide. She loves and appreciates the region’s forest areas.

Michael Dent, originally from Mt Gambier, works in Victoria’s La Trobe Valley plantation forests with HVP. He began studying architecture, graduated in forestry and is now doing a Masters of Business Administration. Concerned about low awareness, Michael wants to promote the environmental credentials of timber and interesting job opportunities along the supply chain to school students.
Roy Head is a fourth generation family member in Australian Solar Timbers, which manufactures premium flooring at Kempsey in northern NSW. A graduate in media and communications, he admires the unique qualities of the Australian native species timbers. Roy is Sydney based and his focus is to better inform the design and architecture community.

Matthew Randall from Albany in Western Australia, is a forester with the PF Olsen team. He loves working in the bush. His career in forestry began as a machinery operator and he is now undertaking forestry studies. Matthew is interested in the new opportunities for timber in the bio-economy and seeks to promote better understanding of the industry in the community.

A fifth Young Community Ambassador Allan Hoffman is based at Portland, Victoria, with his family’s Hoffman Forest Harvesting. He is keen to open school students’ eyes to career opportunities in the industry. Allan plans to join the next intake on account of his current commitments.

The first element of the Canberra program was a day of round table sessions with industry experts who provided the Young Ambassadors with new insights. It’s very nice to have such busy people being so willing to encourage and support the group. Our thanks go to Rob de Fegely (President of the Institute of Foresters Australia and Co-chair of the Forest Industry Advisory Council), Fabiano Ximenes (Research Scientist in the NSW DPI), Ric Sinclair (Managing Director of Forest and Wood Products Australia), David Rowlinson (Planet Ark) and designer and craftsman Evan Dunstone (Dunstone Designs) for sharing their insights and expertise.

A day devoted to professional media coaching included a development session on TCA’s draft key messages, to which the group is contributing. As mentioned in our April update these will be a handy ready reckoner with facts and figures for TCA representatives can use in meetings, conversations and media work.

The social highlights were two dinners in the bush capital. Firstly, a pre-election forestry dinner and debate at the National Press Club, held by AFPA. The pollie panel was: Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Senator Anne Ruston, Shadow Minister for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon and Green spokesperson on forests Senator Janet Rice. The final night was a casual dinner hosted by TCA Chair Brenton Yon.

TCA acknowledges the sponsoring partners. The support of each made one Young Ambassador place available. Thanks to Linx Finance, PF Olsen, Forestry SA and HVP. It’s also great that three of the four are supporting staff members from regional timber communities.

TCA Annual General Meeting – 18 November 2016
Mark your diaries – 2016 AGM on Friday 18th November in Melbourne. We look forward to hosting a TCA table at the dinner to celebrate Victorian Association of Forest Industries’ 130th anniversary of serving the industry that evening. Have a think about coming and let Judy Pearce know if you wish to reserve a place jpearce@tca.org.au. By the way if you haven’t read it the TCA 2015 annual report is on our website.