Helping Develop the Future of Forestry: Advancements in Mechanized Forest Equipment Operator Training 

 The forest sector, like most manufacturing and resource sectors, continues to face challenges in sourcing skilled labour in most areas of the supply chain. Advancements in skills-based training programs are one of many ways that we aim to address the labour gap and bring more opportunities to New Brunswickers to train, live, and work in one of the most important sectors to New Brunswick. Excitingly, another Mechanized Forest Equipment Operator, or MFEO, cohort is set to start training on June 24th at NBCC-Miramichi! 

 As a province renowned for its abundant forest resources, having reliable access to skills-based training for the sector’s in-demand careers is essential to not only build the workforce of tomorrow, but also support the training needs of those looking to make a viable career in New Brunswick’s forest sector. The MFEO training program develops operators with efficiency, sustainability and profitability in-mind, ensuring the operators of tomorrow are equipped with the tools and skills required to build their career as a Forest Equipment Operator. Curated to provide students with the skills and knowledge required to be successful in their careers, the MFEO program has been carefully designed to offer a few additional benefits to ease the transition from study to employment.    

The first notable benefit is the careful selection of students enrolling in the program. As an occupation that doesn’t conform to typical business hours or involve working behind a computer (a stationary computer that is), student selection is paramount to ensure those taking the training are the ones most likely to succeed as a Forest Equipment Operator. Careful selection not only benefits students looking for an excellent career, but also supports our contractor base by simplifying the vetting process, streamlining hiring, and saving considerable effort in searching for new operators. 

Another benefit of the MFEO program is a simplified connection to trade certification. As a designated trade (see our post: New Forestry Trade Certification – an important accomplishment for the sector) the program curriculum is centered around providing students with the skills and knowledge required to meet the requirements of the Board Orders that govern the trade certification for Forest Equipment Operator (Harvester) and Forest Equipment Operator (Forwarder). Graduates from the MFEO program can claim up to 1000-hours of experience from the program to meet the 4000-hour experience requirement to become trade certified.   

The final and most notable benefit of the program, is the clear pathway from training to employment. In addition to a paid work placement in the final weeks of the program, new operators are linked directly to contractors and benefit from an additional 100 hours of on-the-job training and support from industry professionals. This final piece of the puzzle creates a seamless progression from training to employment, facilitating higher job satisfaction for both the new operator and hiring contractor, improving retention rates and making a prolonged positive impact on the workforce.  

With the new cohort of students starting June 24th, we are excited to see the potential of 12 new operators joining harvesting operations across the province! In a few short months, successful graduates will have begun a rewarding career in New Brunswick, helping to support an impactful sector in the province. 

Those interested in taking part in the training program to become a skilled Forest Equipment Operator are encouraged to check out NBCC’s Mechanized Forest Equipment Operator program page, to learn more about the program and how to register.   

Contractors looking to fill vacant seats or expand their operations can contact Marika Brown ( or (902)300-9404) to find out how the program can help improve labour challenges and how to get involved.  

The MFEO program is offered through a collaborative partnership between Forest NB, J.D. Irving, Ltd., NBCC – Miramichi and Forest Liaison Inc. with funding support from Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour and the New Brunswick Forest Sector.