The forest management company Svensk Skogsservice/Dalslands Skogsskola and privately owned holding company FAM together with the Skill Shift Initiative launches a fast track for tree-planting.
Skill Shift Initiative mobilizes temporarily available human resources in Sweden to support sectors that are under pressure or in need of urgent assistance as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
The first three fast tracks focused on healthcare, elderly care and primary schools. The fourth fast track will focus on forest management. Every year over 300 million seedlings are planted in Swedish forests. Much of it is done by seasonal workers. As a result of travel restrictions in and out of Europe to limit the spread of the coronavirus, seasonal workers are unable to enter the country and millions of seedlings are waiting to be planted. At the same time, many Swedish companies have laid off employees and two groups find themselves even farther from the employment market: newly arrived foreign nationals and young people with functional diversity.
“Under these extreme circumstances, and with the help of this fast track, we can create jobs and help plant new forest for the future. Not only are the raw materials from our Swedish forest an important export product, they are a source of renewable raw materials that play an important role in our transition to a more sustainable world,” says Håkan Buskhe, CEO of FAM.
“Forestry is often overlooked in the discussions regarding the coronavirus, but it is absolutely critical to the future of forest management, industry and export that this work is not neglected now. By contributing our knowledge from production and training to Skill Shift Initiative we hope to contribute to solving the shortage of seasonal workers we are experiencing due to entry and exit bans,” says Joakim Gustafsson, CEO of Svensk Skogsservice and Dalslands Skogsskola (Swedish Forestry Service and Dalslands Forest School).
About the training
The training is composed of one digital part, theoretical studies and three days of teacher-supervised hands-on training in the forest. The pilot round will take place at Erstavik and in Tumba just outside Stockholm. Training includes forest history, tree-planting and seedling care as well as reforestation techniques and logistics. After completing the course participants are required to pass a written exam to be approved.
The pilot round starts on April 20 for 30 participants with the ambition to scale up the program for a greater number of participants going forward.
Funding for the project is provided by FAM, who through its wholly owned subsidiary Kopparfors Skogar is one of Sweden’s largest private forest owners with operations throughout the country. FAM is owned by the three largest Wallenberg Foundations: Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, Marianne and Marcus Wallenberg Foundation and the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation.