Tasmania industry encouraging women

Wednesday 24 Feb 2021

Women are still scarce in forestry industry but change is coming, says Tasmanian Forests and Forests Products Network - Tasmania's forestry industry has been dominated by men for years, and still is, says its peak representative body.

But Tasmanian Forests and Forest Products Network convener Therese Taylor is hopeful that change is coming.

"In Tasmania only about 18 per cent of the workforce are women," she said. "Although that is spread out across all occupation areas ... it's low. And we think a workforce that's got a better representation of males and females is a stronger, more successful workforce."

She said one of the reasons for low female participation was a lack of awareness about how scientific some of the roles could be.

"There's opportunities in climate change, sustainability, agronomy," she said. “Without high-level science, this industry won't survive. And we need to tell the stories of the women who are doing that in the modern forestry industry."

One of those women is Naomi Cleaves (pictured), who is employed as a lab technician at Forico's fibre lab at Ridgley. Ms Cleaves was working as a casual at Forico's Somerset seedling nursery when she was scouted by laboratory manager Lorraine Ennis.

"We first saw Naomi working in the Nursery and thought she had great potential to work in the lab," Ms Ennis said. "Fast-forward to now, Naomi is a thriving entry level laboratory technician and is currently studying at TAFE to further her qualifications."

Ms Cleaves said she enjoyed the variety of work at the lab.

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Source: The Advocate

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