As a Graduate Forester, Lana is on a one-year programme of rapid on-the-job learning, and rarely finds herself doing repetitive tasks.
‘I have a combination of field and office work, and every day is different. I only have a few constant jobs. The rest of my time is spent helping harvest managers or log auditors in the forest, conducting analysis or at training courses for skills I will need in the coming months, such as ATV or 4WD. My current role is in sales and operational planning, but I expect to work two weeks in a harvesting crew, supervise planting, assist with group insurance renewals, practice harvest planning and engineering before the year is out. I am very lucky to be learning from many different people, all whom have a lot of experience.’
Lana’s goal is to find which area of forestry she enjoys the most and work her way up to becoming part of the senior management team.
‘The best thing about my job is that when this year is finished I should have experience in most areas of forestry and a good idea about which area I want to progress in.’
Lana, who comes from Hamilton, likes to challenge herself with new situations, and says she chose to come to UC partly because she wouldn’t know anyone here.
‘I thought it would be good to make a larger base of friends. Staying in a hall of residence for the first year definitely helped. I didn’t know anything about Christchurch before I moved there so it was a bit of an adventure. Luckily, once I arrived I found it is an awesome place. It has beaches, it’s close to mountains and is good for fishing and diving.’
Having started out studying towards a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Geology, for which she took some Forestry papers, Lana soon discovered that she would like to focus on Forestry Science.
‘After one semester I was convinced that Forestry was what I wanted to study. I worked harder at Forestry because I found it interesting and for the first time in my schooling career I was getting As. When I found out the career prospects were really good it was an added bonus.’
Lana wholeheartedly recommends UC’s Forestry Science degree as a solid basis for a career in forestry and one where students learn in a friendly environment.
‘Over the four years, you develop team work, organisational skills, analytical skills, decision making and personal motivation skills. You also meet industry personal through NZIF meetings, summer work and guest lecturers,’ she says.
‘The School of Forestry has an excellent community and a tonne of opportunities. It must be one of the only departments that emails potential jobs to students and actively helps students attain summer work. As a result of the small class numbers, the lecturers have time to help with any issues or queries and know students by name. The classes become very close after four years together, and the forestry society, which is run by students, goes a long way to getting all year levels bonding.’