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Fundamentals of Forestry Harvesting Practices VIU

Adam Klassen shares his story

After a seven-year stint as a heavy equipment operator in Fort McMurray, Alberta, Adam Klassen decided it was time for a change.

“I was exhausted with commuting weekly [and] I wanted to seek work closer to home,” he says. Through a co-worker of his girlfriend, Adam found out about the Fundamentals of Forestry Harvesting Practices (FFHP) certificate program at VIU.

The program piqued Adam’s interest in “the local opportunities of a career operating in the forestry sector,” and he decided to enroll.

Tuition-free, and held over a 12-week period, the program is held in Woss, BC, and includes elements such as skills training, occupational skills, hazard assessment, and workplace experience. The program is based on competencies identified by the BC Forest Safety Council. Accommodation and all appropriate PPE is provided free of charge, as well.

For Adam, highlights of the program included “the hands-on experiences, and working outdoors” – particularly ideal aspects amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Working in nature made it easier to adapt to COVID protocols, as we were able to establish physical distancing,” he says.

As well, the chance to take part in field operations “that benefit northern communities was a great opportunity to exercise team work and leadership,” says Adam. “It was essential for crew bonding with the other students and citizens.”

Since completing the program, Adam says he has found full-time employment locally as a loader operator.

For those considering FFHP, and future career opportunities in the field for themselves, Adam offers some advice.


“Establish a network with your instructors, fellow students, local citizens, and employers,” he says. “Contact the North Island Employment Foundation for financial and other support while partaking in the program.”


When seeking employment, Adam advises people to address each potential employer specifically and directly “with a strong cover letter and emphasize your devotion to the industry,” he says. “Create a strong resume and immediately update it with your new tickets.”


Applications for the March 2022 intake are now being accepted. Email heo@viu.ca for further information.


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Fundamentals of Forest Harvesting Practices

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VIU Charting a New Career Path with Fundamentals of Forestry Harvesting Practices

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Program instructor Reseigh Cox has extensive experience in the forest industry and works closely with the BC Forest Safety Council and Western Forest Products, this gives VIU students the upper hand on training in today’s labour market. Students will partake in working with logging crews engaging in day to day issues as they arise. 

They assist crews with setting up tougher settings giving them an immense experience that exist daily in the forest industry. Reseigh brings industry to the students, giving industry a chance to see the outcome of the program content and how it has transformed regular people into employees ready and capable of work.

Western Forest Products also gives the students opportunities to diversify during this program giving them as much real world experience as possible, such blasting and building wood culverts with the road crews and road changes with the yarders, every part of this course is life changing for someone, with little or no experience in this industry. 

"By helping Western in any way we can, it offsets being in the way sometimes for the students to gain better understanding of the logging industry." Reseigh gives students the complete overview of the industry from planning, engineering right through to getting the logs to markets. 

Reseigh and Western coordinate day trips for students to view dryland sorts and talk with scalers and log graders giving students first-hand knowledge about logs and different markets, mapping specialists are brought in to the classroom to show students how to properly interpret maps and plans, also a representative comes to talk about biology and sustainability in our forest industry as well as first nation involvement and it importance. 

All in all this course can only be sustained with industry support and a knowledgeable instructor and students willing to open their minds to mentorship learning, where the old teach the new.

“Establish a network with your instructors, fellow students, local citizens, and employers,” he says. “Contact the North Island Employment Foundation for financial and other support while partaking in the program.”

When seeking employment, he advises people to address each potential employer specifically and directly “with a strong cover letter and emphasize your devotion to the industry,” he says. “Create a strong resume and immediately update it with your new tickets.”

Applications for the March 18, 2022 intake are now being accepted. Email heo@viu.ca for further information.

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During the Fundamentals of Forest Harvesting Program students will get the opportunity to work with employers to enhance their learning and to possibly obtain gainful employment.

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