FITT Funds New Centre of Forest Innovation at NSCC

June 29, 2021

By: The Working Forest Staff

NOVA SCOTIA — A new Centre of Forest Innovation operated by Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) will advance the shift to ecological forestry practices in the province and train the next generation of forestry professionals.

On June 28, the Forestry Innovation Transition Trust (FITT) announced $6.1 million over four years for NSCC to establish the centre at its Truro campus. The centre will have a simulator immersion lab, demonstration woodlot, innovative technology, and programming to meet the needs of the forestry sector.

The project responds to several recommendations of Prof. Bill Lahey’s review of forestry practices, including encouraging innovation and enhancing education and training for the province’s forestry professionals.

“The forestry sector is an important part of Nova Scotia’s economy, and its impact will only be strengthened through workforce development and innovation,” said Premier Iain Rankin. “NSCC has shown exceptional leadership with this new centre. It’s a great example of what the Forestry Innovation Transition Trust was set up to do in responding to Prof. Lahey’s recommendations on ecological forestry.”

NSCC will design and deliver core certificate programs for forest inventory and ecological resource management and offer shorter courses for continuing education and skill development. The centre will bring together industry, innovation, research, and training.

The centre will be complete in June 2022 and will open to students the following school year.

One of the main goals of the project is to grow the sector workforce by providing greater access to training and inclusion of youth, Black, Indigenous, and women learners supported by tuition bursaries.

The Forestry Innovation Transition Trust is a $50 million fund helping to bring innovation to the Nova Scotia forestry sector. With this project, the Trust has so far funded seven projects totaling more than $10.4 million.

The Trust focuses on accelerating new opportunities within the sector to enhance environmental, social, and economic values and the adoption of new ecological forestry practices. The fund can be used by companies, organizations, or post-secondary institutions to bring innovation to the forestry and biological resources sector.

“Skills and training are major levers for change and are essential to building a professional and well-trained workforce. NSCC has a proven track record of training excellence across many sectors and the Centre for Forest Innovation will ensure the forestry workforce of today and tomorrow has the knowledge and skills needed to support a strong and sustainable sector,” says Rosalind Penfound, trustee and chair, Forestry Innovation Transition Trust.

“In setting up a dedicated Centre of Forest Innovation, NSCC can serve as an important pathway for the skills and training needed to support inclusive social and economic growth in this vital sector. Anchored at our Truro Campus, this tremendous investment will mean a dedicated training space for the present and future workforce, opening the door to collaboration on applied research, workforce development, and innovation,” says Don Bureaux, President, Nova Scotia Community College.

Quick Facts:

  • Recommendation 43 in Prof. Lahey’s review was related to attracting and retaining forestry professionals to Nova Scotia and attending to their professional development
  • NSCC’s proposal to establish the Centre of Forest Innovation came from a partnership with Labour and Advanced Education, the Nova Scotia Apprenticeship Agency, the provincial Forest Sector Council, the Mi’kmawey Forestry Initiative, and the NSCC Foundation
  • NSCC had previously received $2 million from the trust to deliver an innovation voucher program to be implemented over the next two years
  • the trust will issue three calls for proposals in 2021-22, with the next round opening on August 1
  • trustees are chair Rosalind Penfound, Douglas Hall and David Saxton

Additional Resources:

More information about the Nova Scotia Forestry Innovation Transition Trust is available at: https://novascotia.ca/forestry-trust/

 

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