The Forestry Commission and University of Energy and Natural Resources have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to train field technicians whose services are in dire need.
The about 400 young people targeted to begin the training course would be called range supervisors and are expected to fill the gap created due to retirements, attrition and sometimes death across the country.
As technicians and first level managers at our forest reserves, their core mandate specifically would be supervising the boundary cleaning and protection done by the forest guards, doing stock survey of the forest reserves, check surveys, to at all times know all the trees like mahogany and odumn.
The trainees would be drawn from the Forestry Commission and the public across the nation and would go through a three-semester course that would last for a duration of 16 months at the Forestry Commission Training Center (FCTC) in Ejisu, Ashanti Region.
The University of Energy and Natural Resources (UENR) together with the Training Center had developed a curriculum for the 16-months programme and lecturers from both institutes, including some technocrats from the Commission, would take the trainees through field works.
Some of key concepts within the programme would be pollution prevention, tackling of climate change and environmental challenges, pest infestations, technology usage and advancement like drones and satellite images usage amongst others.
Mr John Allotey, Chief Executive, Forestry Commission, who signed the MoU on behalf of the Commission, said, the decision to train young professionals had been a long standing goal since they were able to churn out professionals in various fields.
He said the collaboration with the University would not only give certification and promotion at work but quality assurance which would be crucial to achieving Commission’s objectives.
“We are supposed to protect, develop and manage our forest. The numbers we have currently is worrying because we have only 179 range supervisors as against the expected 350.
Even with the 179, half of them should not be in the field because physically they have gone beyond their prime,” Mr Allotey said.
Prof Elvis Asare-Bediako, Vice Chancellor, UENR, said the partnerships was key in the advancement of both institutions and the MoU signified the relationship between academia and industry.
He said they were determined to make the MoU a working document to ensure success, adding that the University was established to address key challenges of our national development.
“The job of the Forestry Commission is essential and we have a role to play. The areas we are going to emphasize will be the training, research, projects and other community engagements . We therefore pledge a full commitment to this MoU,” Prof Asare-Bediako added.
Dr Andy Osei Okrah, Director, Forestry Commission Training Center, said both institutions had put the curriculum together and it would be intensive and practical in nature.
“More of our experienced managers and technocrats would be involved in the tuition. By March I think the first group should be in session and the MoU is renewable after three years,” he stated.