As part of the 2007 election commitment ‘Australia’s Forest Industry – Preparing for the Future’ $1 million was provided to update the data contained in Forest and Wood Products Industry Workforce and Industry Data Collection research project, expand this database to meet the future needs of both government and industry, and develop world best practice benchmarks for the forest and forest products sectors.
A 2006 Wood and Paper Products Industry Skills Shortage Audit undertaken by the industry found that a lack of industry specific data was a significant factor influencing the sector’s ability to identify areas of skills shortages and inform workforce planning and skills development.
This commitment was intended to develop a database portal to provide a readily accessible platform for industry to access recent and relevant workforce data on various sectors of the forest industry.
URS Australia was awarded a tender to collect forest industry data and develop a web-based, interactive database portal to provide key information for workforce planning. The project has enabled the collation of relevant information and the capacity to complement this with new data, including data collected in this project, and also data from subsequent industry surveys and studies.
In May 2011 the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry launched Australia's Forestry Industry Database. The database provides a centralised, publicly available platform for information associated with the forest industry in terms of employment numbers and employee characteristics, skills and training information and recruitment and retention data.
The database highlights important trends within sectors and geographic regions and has the capacity for modeling the forest industry extending out to 2030 through the use of wood flow data.
Each sector of the industry is able to use the database and the modeling capability to complete some form of industry planning for skills and training. This includes the ability to design future industry structural scenarios. This can be done by selecting processing facilities to suit their state or forestry region based on the expected future wood flow resource. The model can then estimate the number of employees required to service the industry and any qualifications necessary.
The database is available for viewing at Australia's Forestry Industry Database.
In addition to the web-based database, URS Australia has produced two reports. The project methodology report presents the steps undertaken to assemble and create the data base, including a review of existing industry data, a gap analysis industry consultation, and development of a forestry industry database.
The summary of findings report presents anticipated future trends and drivers impacting employment, and skills and training in the forest and wood products industry.