Training and Mentoring with Mercer Forestry Services

Mercer Forestry Services is a growing company both within Mercer and within the industry. Their services assist Mercer Celgar operations by providing chip hauling and, similar to Mercer Holz, provide log harvesting and hauling to third-party customers operating in British Columbia. Road building is also offered to third-party customers, allowing easier access to harvesting and other work sites.

There is a shortage of experienced, professional drivers throughout North America. This has a direct impact on us at Mercer Forestry Services (MFS) in both our log hauling and our chip transfer hauling services. With our operations taking place throughout the rugged terrain of British Columbia’s mountain regions and, at times, during heavy snowfalls, it is imperative that we hire highly skilled drivers to fill this important safety-sensitive role. By partnering with Okanagan College (OC) and the British Columbia Forest Safety Council (BCFSC), MFS participated in the active attempt to fill this industry gap through the Professional Industry Driver Training Program.  

This OC Training Program is funded by the BCFSC, which provides the tools and training for students to obtain their Class 1 License with a high degree of professionalism and industry knowledge. The program offers robust safety guidelines and includes a wide range of topics such as fatigue management, load securement, steep grade descent tools, and injury prevention. The program also includes four weeks of hands-on mentorship. 

One of MFS’ highly skilled drivers, Jason Woehler, committed to a mentorship role in this program, driving alongside an OC student driver. During this time, he shared the techniques and insider knowledge gained through his many years of experience. At the end of the mentorship, we had the opportunity to give feedback, extend their mentorship, or hire our trainee. It was clear that this comprehensive training program instilled the right values and professional standards that we look for in a driver. With that, we were thrilled to welcome an excellent new driver to our MFS team, Breanna Bloor.

At the end of the day, the most important thing we want to ensure is that everyone gets home safely. Through comprehensive hands-on training and continuing partnerships, we can help ensure our drivers have the right tools to build careers by starting with a solid foundation.