SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.

Occupational Certificate: Forestry Technician 
118209  Occupational Certificate: Forestry Technician 
Development Quality Partner - QCTO (Agri) 
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
Occupational Certificate  Field 01 - Agriculture and Nature Conservation  Forestry and Wood Technology 
Undefined  129  Not Applicable  NQF Level 05  Regular-ELOAC 
Registered  EXCO 0522/24  2021-06-22  2025-12-31 
2026-12-31   2029-12-31  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Forestry Technician. A Forestry Technician provides technical inputs into forestry operational plans, the management and implementation thereof, collection of data, monitoring, analysing and managing operational team performance in support of sustainable forest management. Typical graduate attributes for the qualifying learner are the following: passionate, dynamic, positive, innovative, respectful, assertive, punctual, self-disciplined, transparent, team and performance driven, innovative, accommodating, patient, perceptive and motivated.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Provide input into technical plans to achieve operational objectives.
  • Manage teams for the implementation of operational plans.
  • Manage the efficient use of resources for the achievement of operational objectives.
  • Monitor and evaluate performance against forestry standards, collect and analyse data and implement corrective actions.
  • Manage production and productivity, compile and maintain reports in line with operational objectives.

    In the forestry industry, there is a need for career development from a Production or Operations Supervisor (Forestry) and Forestry Production and Operations Foreman occupations into a Forestry Technician (Forestry) position. This qualification will bolster the practical acumen of Foresters to adequately and effectively manage technical forestry operations.

    This qualification will benefit individuals in rural communities giving them the opportunity for upskilling. Furthermore, there is another opportunity for rural communities to enter the field of natural resource management of which forestry is a component.

    The range of typical learners will consist of unemployed youth, forestry foreman, prospective foresters and qualified foresters who want to increase their practical experience in forestry. Foresters without a qualification can be given an opportunity to obtain a formal occupational qualification following the Recognition of Prior Learning route.

    The completion of this qualification will contribute to career pathing possibilities and increase the available talent pool. This qualification contributes to a learning pathway for a person to progress from Forestry Supervisor to Forestry Foreman and eventually to a Forestry Technician.

    The completion of this qualification will result in a Forestry Technician who is holistic, practically competent and technically orientated. By gaining practical and technical experience the learners will be able to contribute substantially to sustainable forest management and the achievement of operational objectives. The Forestry Technician qualification will give learners the confidence and enriched experience at a practical level to recognise and manage forestry technical operation challenges. 


    This qualification consists of the following compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skill and Work Experience Modules:

    Knowledge Modules:
  • 314301-000-00-KM-01, Silviculture Establishment, Level 5, 2 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-KM-02, Silviculture Maintenance/Tending, Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-KM-03, Harvesting Methods and Systems, Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-KM-04, Legislation, Level 5, 2 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-KM-05, Forest Management, Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-KM-06, Human Resource Management, Level 6, 2 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-KM-07, Resource Management, Level 5, 2 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-KM-08, Information Management, Level 6, 2 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-KM-09, Production Management, Level 5, 2 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 28

    Practical Skill Modules:
  • 314301-000-00-PM-01, Provide Accurate Technical and Operational into Planning, Level 5, 3 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-PM-02, Provide Accurate Technical and Operational into Planning, Level 5, 2 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-PM-03, Plan, Organise, lead and Control Technical Teams, Level 5, 5 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-PM-04, Manage Resource Utilisation Optimally, Level 5, 5 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-PM-05, Participate in Productivity Measurements and Work Study, Level 5, 2 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-PM-06, Manage Compliance and Communicate Results of Operational/Productions Progress to Technical Teams and Management, Level 5, 5 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-PM-07, Compile and Maintain Production Progress Reports Ensuring, Validity, Accuracy, Reliability, Consistency and Relevance of Information, Level 5, 5 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-PM-08, Review Technical Planning for Improved Performance, Level 5, 2 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 29

    Work Experience Modules:
  • 314301-000-00-WE-01, Operational Planning, Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-WE-02, Forest Operations, Level 5, 16 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-WE-03, Task Implementation and Management, Level 5, 16 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-WE-04, Resource Management, Level 5, 16 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-WE-05, Forest Operations Evaluation, Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-WE-06, Best Operating Practices (BOP), Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 314301-000-00-WE-07, Production and Productivity, Level 5, 4 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 72 

  • Describe the elements and steps involved in the development of forestry plans.
  • Explain and analyse the factors to consider managing a diverse team to achieve operational objectives.
  • Explain and analyse the factors to consider managing forestry resources for effective and efficient utilisation.
  • Demonstrate how to collect and analyse forest operational data and implement corrective action in case a deviation is detected.
  • Illustrate how to effectively communicate production objectives.
  • Infer an understanding of the impact the physical environment has on the 4M's and T (money, man, material, machinery and time) and operational risk profile. 

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
  • Describe Compartments (wet and dry), establishment (site preparation, planting and fertilising), tending (weeding, pruning, thinning, maintenance) and environmental plan elements against operational objectives.
  • Understand balancing of sales plan with allowable cut through the concept of forest yield regulation
  • Describe work standards and norms, labour requirements and schedules from elements and budget allowances in the development of the forestry plan.
  • Understand resources (tools and information) required for the development of operational plans according to forestry standards
  • Select best operating practices according to the task.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
  • Explain diversity in respect of capacity, attitude, work experience and culture in the workplace.
  • Analyse individual capabilities and the effect on team dynamics.
  • Meet targets according to operational objectives.
  • Explain the implementation of management principles (planning, leading, organising and control) in the management of the team.
  • Explain the need for performance reviews with individuals and the team.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
  • Explain the concept of resource balancing.
  • Analyse and demonstrate the interaction between the 4M's and T (money, man, material, machinery and time) and 5B's (buffer, breakdown, blunder, bottlenecks, balance).
  • Explain the effective and efficient utilisation of resources to achieve daily production.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 4:
  • Identify the types of checks (i.e. pre entry risk assessment, daily production targets, compartment operational plans, PPE) required for the operation.
  • Complete the collection of operational data using a checklist.
  • Identify deviations using the collected data and implement corrective action if required.
  • Explain the analysis of collected data as a way of checking operational progress.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 5:
  • Select the correct type, approach and medium of communication in order to effectively communicate production objectives.
  • Understand planned targets for production and adapt if required factually.
  • Communicate targets to the team and management effectively.
  • Provide operational feedback using the appropriate medium of communication.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 6:
  • Understand the interaction between biophysical conditions (slope, terrain, ground conditions, weather conditions including extreme conditions and forestry operation.
  • Assess and manage the impact of biophysical conditions on the operational risk.
  • Explain the impact of the biophysical conditions on time and productivity.

    Integrated Formative Assessment
    The skills development provider will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment together with work experience leads to entrance into the integrated external summative assessment.

    Integrated Summative Assessment
    An external integrated summative assessment, conducted through the relevant QCTO Assessment Quality Partner is required for the issuing of this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the exit level outcomes and associated assessment criteria.

    The Assessment will be conducted through written and the evaluation of practical tasks at decentralised approved assessment sites by a panel of assessors evaluated by assessor (s) registered with the AQP within a period of 1 day. 

    This qualification was compared with qualifications from New Zealand and Canada.

    New Zealand
    Institution: Competenz - New Zealand Industry Training Organisation
    Qualification Name: Certificate in Forest Industry Operations (Planning and Monitoring) Level 4 on the New Zealand Qualifications Framework (NZQF).
    Duration: 80 days / 50 - 64 credits.
    Entry Requirements: NQF level 3 forestry specific qualification.

    Qualification content - Learning Outcomes
  • Apply effective planning, communication and supervision to a forestry operational team.
  • Apply health and safety management in a forestry operation.
  • Apply environmental management and landing management in a forest harvesting operation.
  • Plan and implement forest inventories, and manage the delivery, quality and integrity of collected data.
  • Use prescription maps to plan and manage quality control in a forestry silviculture operation.

    All the outcomes in the New Zealand qualification are covered in the Forestry Technician Occupational Certificate and is regarded as a very close match. Only two of the outcomes differ slightly as follows:
  • Collection of data mainly focuses on the inventory function, whereas the South African course requires data collection for all forestry disciplines i.e. Silviculture, Harvesting etc.
  • South Africa course extends function to all forestry disciplines.

    It must be noted that the first qualification that was identified for international comparison was the Forestry Crew Manager at an NQF Level 5 which after contacting Competenz in New Zealand resulted in establishing that the qualification has been replaced with the above lower NQF level 4 qualification.

    The learning outcomes of the Certificate in Forest Industry Operations compares favourably to the Forestry Technician certificate. This NQF level 5 Forestry Technician qualification is in line with the occupational career development pathway for the forestry industry.

    Institution: Ontario Colleges - Algonquin College, accredited with Cooperative Education and Work-Integrated Learning (CEWIL) Canada.
    Qualification Name: Forest Technician Diploma.
    Duration: two years / 45 weeks / 225 day.
    Entry Requirements: English, Grade 12 (ENG4C or equivalent) and Mathematics, Grade 11 (MCF3M or equivalent).

    Qualification Content - Learning Outcomes
  • Conduct forest inventory surveys and field measurements to determine forest resources and values in forests and woodlots.
  • Assess soil characteristics, vegetation and wildlife habitats to identify their interactions within forest ecosystems.
  • Perform technical functions in silvicultural operations and assist in the monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of silvicultural practices.
  • Collect, analyse, interpret, and display spatial data using mapping technology and Geographical Information Systems (GIS) to contribute to forest resource management.
  • Contribute to sustainable forest management plans, including conservation and rehabilitation measures, taking into consideration the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders.
  • Contribute to sustainable forest management plans, including conservation and rehabilitation measures, taking into consideration the perspectives of a variety of stakeholders and the requirements of relevant legislation and regulations.
  • Identify and analyse forest diseases, pests, invasive species and other disturbance events and implement mitigation strategies to maintain and improve forest ecosystems.
  • Select, operate, troubleshoot and maintain tools and equipment in a variety of environmental conditions and in accordance with safety and operating standards.
  • Work independently and in a collaborative environment while applying effective teamwork, leadership and interpersonal skills.
  • Communicate technical information to a variety of stakeholders in oral, written, visual and electronic forms.
  • Develop strategies for ongoing professional development to enhance work performance in the forestry sector.
  • Identify and apply discipline-specific practices that contribute to the local and global community through social responsibility, economic commitment and environmental stewardship.

    This qualification consists of an 80-hour field placement whilst the Forestry Technician Occupational Certificate consists of 90 days' work experience and 36 days to complete the practical skills module.

    The level of decision making of this Forest Technician Diploma qualification rests with the Forester Graduate level who may find entry-level work in the fields of tree marking, forest inventory, forest environment and ecosystem assessment, compliance monitoring, forest renewal, harvesting, parks, wildlife management, nature interpretation, arboriculture, bio-energy management and forest fire control. Self-employment as a forestry contractor or consultant is another avenue graduates may decide to pursue whilst the level of the Forestry Technician qualification rests with a Foreman / Forester in Training (FIT) level.

    The Forest Technician diploma in Canada mainly focuses on best operating practices in silvicultural practices and not a holistic view of silviculture practices. The Occupational Certificate: Forestry Technician focuses on quality checks within all forestry operations. The former qualification is a higher level (NQF level 6) than the Occupational Certificate: Forestry Technician (NQF level 5) due to the level of stakeholder engagement, legislation and regulations. The Occupational Certificate: Forestry Technician focuses on communicating only to technical teams and management. Stakeholder communication is at an engagement level and not on the communication of technical information according to the Forestry Technician Diploma. There is a strategic focus of the Forest Technician Diploma vs an operational focus of the Occupational Certificate: Forestry Technician.

    The Occupational Certificate: Forestry Technician compares favourably with the two qualifications with a number of similarities having been noted between the two qualifications, but the major difference is that the level of education for the Forest Technician Diploma is higher whilst the Occupational Certificate: Forestry Technician is more practically orientated. 

    This qualification allows possibilities for both vertical and horizontal articulation.

    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Higher Certificate in Veldfire Management, NQF Level 5.

    Vertical Articulation:
  • Diploma in Forestry, NQF Level 6. 

  • NOTES 
    Qualifying for External Assessment:
    In order to qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules by means of statements of results and statement of work experience as well as proof of successful completion of the following subjects and modules or alternative programmes where applicable including Foundational Learning Competence.

    Additional legal or physical entry requirements

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers
    Accreditation of providers will be done against the criteria as reflected in the relevant curriculum on the QCTO website.

    The curriculum title and code is: Forestry Technician: 314301-000-00-00.

    Encompassed Trades
    This qualification encompasses the following trades as recorded on the NLRD

    Assessment Quality Partner (AQP)
    Quality Council for Trades & Occupations (QCTO)

    Related Part-Qualification


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    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.