Forestry Commission signs MoU with UENR to train field agents
The Forestry Commission has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the University of Energy and Natural and Resources (UENR) to train students, technicians and field operatives in forestry and related sectors.
Under the agreement, the university would serve as a training ground to provide young people with in-depth and practical knowledge of forests and the environment for a 16-month period after which they would be awarded certificates.
The trainees would also be offered real-time industry level coaching by seasoned professionals.
The agreement which was signed in Accra yesterday, takes effect in January 2024, and would be renewed every three years to allow both parties to review the initiative for improvement.
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Forestry Commission, John Allotey, signed on behalf of the commission, while the Vice-Chancellor of UENR, Prof. Elvis Asare- Bediako, signed for the university.
Mr Allotey explained that the initiative was necessitated by the gradual decline in the number of middle-level field agent staff with expertise to execute ground frontline roles of the commission because institutions were not producing such professionals.
He said the commission currently required a staff strength of at least 400 personnel to take up various roles as rangers and wildlife officers, among others.
“The Forestry Commission is being confronted by illegal logging, mining, wildfires and poaching.
We also have opportunities in Ecotourism expansion and new areas like climate change, and we need training in all these areas,” Mr Allotey added.
He expressed gratitude to the university for accepting to lead the way by revising its curriculum to produce professionals who would help develop and manage the forest resources of the nation in a sustainable way.
For his part, Prof. Asare-Bediako said partnerships and collaborations were key to the advancement of every institution.
“It is true that we already have an existing relations with the commission because the university was carved out of the forestry school that was part of the commission,” he said.
Prof. Asare-Bediako also said that the agreement was a significant partnership between academia and industry, adding that the university was determined to make the agreement a “working MoU” to achieve the intended outcomes.
“The job of the Forestry Commission is important to the development of this nation and the UENR has a role to play, that is why this agreement we have signed is so significant.
“The areas we would emphasise are training, research, projects and community engagements,” he said.