Luke Holmes

'Now is a great time to get involved with forestry, there are many upcoming challenges that require skilled young grads...'

  • Luke Holmes

Studying towards a Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Forest Engineering

Having spent most of his life growing up on a sheep farm, Luke knew that his future career had to involve work in the outdoors. His specific interest centred on harvesting and land development, which led him to Forest Engineering studies.

‘I aim to work within the New Zealand forest sector and be a part of the transition to safer and more productive harvest methods,’ he says.

With a Young Farmers Scholarship from high school and a UC Undergraduate Entrance Scholarship, Luke found it an easy decision to choose UC for his Forest Engineering degree.

‘I was aware that the Engineering department at UC was held in high regard both here and abroad, and thought this would provide the greatest opportunity to be taught by some of the best. When I discovered that Canterbury offered the only undergraduate Forestry programme in Australasia it was hard to look anywhere else.’

The courses in his degree were based on skills he will use in the industry, such as forest monitoring, project management, equipment training and geospatial mapping.

‘I found Forestry Engineering had a good professional and practical balance, and was a degree which would give me the skills to make a valuable contribution to NZ’s growth and environment,’ he says.

‘Although the first couple of years consist of mainly core skills subjects the ability to later specialise in courses that directly relate to the commercial forest industry was a large attraction for me. I really enjoy the small class size that the forestry side of the degree offers as well as the passion and openness of staff towards students, this makes an awesome learning environment.’

One particular favourite aspect was the practical component of his study, with internship placements during the summer. His grades and contributions were recognised with a Forestry Industry Engineering Associate (FIEA) Scholarship.

‘This provided the opportunity to get directly involved in the industry while studying,’ he says. ‘I worked in a logging crew and for a forest management company during my degree and this gave me the opportunity to directly relate things learnt at UC to the field.’

The experience has shown Luke just how enjoyable his career will be once he graduates, especially with more opportunities to get out of the office and into the environment.

‘If you are after a career which combines a professional approach with an outdoors lifestyle as well as plenty of opportunity for development and progression then look no further. The first years of an Engineering degree are tough but definitely worth it.’

After graduating and gaining more experience in the industry, Luke plans to eventually take his career global and work in other countries, such as Canada.

‘Now is a great time to get involved with forestry, there are many upcoming challenges that require skilled young grads, so job demand availability is high,’ he says. ‘Practical work is a great part of the degree and I would strongly encourage anyone considering this degree to get involved as soon as possible.’

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