Providing vital opportunities for regional youth - Hayden Timbers Pty Ltd., Telegraph Point, NSW

medium_Image - Trent Whitby, 27 May, 2014.jpg“We have never been busier”, says Hayden Timbers Mill Manager, Trent Whitby. This is despite the fact that the industry is in transition with the deep influences caused by an ageing population, changing market demands, globalisation, greening economies, forest tenure policies and much more.
“To meet these changes, Hayden Timbers has an explicit objective of making the very best of whatever timber is available to us” says Trent. “We strive to use 100% of a tree. We concentrate first and foremost on quality and sizing, ensuring this is ‘on-point’ all of the time. Of course to assist us to achieve this, we have in place a rigorous maintenance program on all our machinery.”
“What we have found is that when embracing technology, which is just wonderful, sometimes technique can be lost. Timber doesn’t perform like steel for example. It pushes and pulls and has to be broken down expertly at the hands of an experienced sawyer.
And, like other workplaces, our workforce is ageing.
We think the very best way to train new sawyers is to utilise the energy of young people who are local residents in our area. After all, their families and friends are already here and if we decide to invest the time to train them ourselves, we can teach them to do things the “Hayden Timbers” way.

Three of our sawyers are now in their late fifties and thus, succession planning is vital to the future of our business.

Haydens (1) Young staff (2) March 2016.pngThe image to the left shows Mill Owner, Darrell Hayden with, from left Tom Bailey, Travis Blanch, Jack Stewart, Kodie Fletcher and Luke Mason. Most of these young men have attended local high schools and, at the end of either Yr 10 or 12 were attracted to learn timber milling, on the job in an active, outside environment. “When we want to learn a new skill, the mill management tries hard to accommodate us. This has got to be good for them as it is for us”, says Travis Blanch.
Travis, who is now 24, left school in Year 8 to help his father in a removalist business after which he accepted an offer from Darrell Hayden to try his hand at his mill. Since then Travis has never looked back, commencing at timber stacking and quickly moving upwards to the more specialist tasks of docking and tailoring-out. Travis is now a highly regarded sawyer.
Jack Stewart did similarly, leaving Wauchope High during Year 9 to undertake a carpentry and construction course at the local TAFE. Jack is now following a similar career path to Travis.
According to Darrell Hayden, “we are very proud that we are able to employ young school leavers who, almost without exception, are doing a very good job”. As such I believe that the future of Hayden’s Timbers is in good hands.