Hardworking apprentice wins southern forestry award

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09 June 2020

The Southern Wood Council has named their overall 2020 Forestry Apprentice of the Year as Jordan Muru, known as Jordy. He works for MJ Logging, a four-man mechanised ground-based crew based in Geraldine.

"I was pretty stoked because there were some other really good candidates there," says Jordy

The council said Jordy's progression from school to winning a major award was a testament to his dedication to training, the investment made by MJ Logging owner Matt Jordan in helping him develop skills, and the region's induction and training programmes.

Jordy was originally involved in the Primary Industry Academy Programme at Geraldine High School. As part of that course, he visited Port Blakely's Geraldine forestry operations.

He liked what he saw and began considering a career in forestry. Through the programme, he started work experience visits one day a week with various Port Blakely harvesting crews. After a few months of these visits, Jordy was offered a full-time job with MJ Logging.

He was enrolled in the apprenticeship programme, administered by Competenz, to accelerate his learning and the five-week block courses offered to young apprentices at Mike Hurring's training facility in Balclutha.

Competenz Account Manager Phil Williams says Jordy is lucky to be part of the Blakely Pacific Crew. Blakely have had two Apprentice of the Year winners, which Phil believes is down to the fact that it is a small crew, meaning that each team member is able to try everything. Their staff turnover is low and they have a "really good safety record" he says. 

"Jordy's main role in the crew is managing the skid site, including fleeting, sorting, stacking and loading-trucks," says Port Blakely Harvesting Operations Manager Barry Wells.

"This can be a high-pressure situation at times but Jordy is good at his job. He's able to work calmly and doesn't lose his cool under pressure.

"Jordy has a number of attributes and characteristics that help him within the crew, and life in general. He has a good work ethic, he's cautious and he's safe. He asks questions, follows instructions, and picks up new tasks quickly. He also fits in with the crew really well, which is important."

Barry says he wishes more young people would come into the industry with Jordy's enthusiasm, attitude and thirst for learning.

"Without doubt, Jordan must be one of the most passionate and committed young apprentices working in the Southland and Otago region today," Port Blakely Managing Director Philip Taylor says.

Jordy received a trophy, framed certificate, a $500 cheque, $750 of Stihl vouchers sponsored by the Stihl Shop Milton and a $500 Protos Integral Forestry Helmet sponsored by CRS Communications.

The runners-up were Jackson Hopkins, of Mike Hurring Logging, and Jackson McCallum, of McCallum Harvesting.