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Pedro Serafim, head of biodiversity and forest certification at Altri Florestal

Next step: certifying training

Next October, the skills acquired will be recognised by the ACT {Authority for Working Conditions} and DGERT {Directorate-General for Employment and Labour Relations}. This recognition will allow for the employees of companies which supply services to Altri Florestal to become qualified.

Altri Florestal is at the last stage of the process of certifying the training it provides for its employees. At present, the sessions provided are merely informal and do not lead to any officially recognised certification. The aim of these sessions is to raise awareness of the procedures, regulations and precautions to be implemented in the workplace. In order to overcome this situation, the company decided to create the work front training card (FFT) to validate the practical knowledge acquired by employees during their training.

This card also serves as proof that its holder was at the work front and received training. An average of around 250 forestry operators work in the Altri Florestas forests annually. The FFT has been in existence for nine years and is valid for two. Pedro Serafim, the head of biodiversity and forest certification at Altri Florestal says that “around 1,250 FFT cards have been issued up to now”.


The aim of these sessions is to raise awareness of the procedures, regulations and precautions to be implemented in the workplace
The aim of these sessions is to raise awareness of the procedures, regulations and precautions to be implemented in the workplace

The need to develop and improve the training on offer was not restricted to transferring content from paper to video, or providing a mobile classroom using a customised van. Last year, taking advantage of the investment in this new facility, it was decided that the training model should also be developed to provide a certified qualification to people who attend these sessions. According to Pedro Serafim, “This investment must ensure that employees become qualified”.

Certified training enables forest operators’ skills to be turned into a qualification and recognised in the employment market. There is still a stigma attached to rural labour, and it is regarded as non-specialised work performed by unqualified labourers. The head of forest certification and biodiversity at Altri Florestal states, “In professional forest management, the qualification and technical skill of operators is essential for maintaining and improving the competitiveness of the forestry sector and of the entire forest industry”.

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The practical knowledge acquired by employees during training will be recognised by pubic bodies as training leading to a qualification.

The company started searching for the best way of making this happen, ensuring that the FFT certification would be recognised in the marketplace. In April of 2017, the Associação da Indústria Papeleira Portuguesa (CELPA) {Portuguese Paper Industry Association}, a body which includes Altri, achieved certification for its training. It is a body which is accredited to provide training and Altri Florestal will be one of the training bodies to participate in training on forest management issues.

Employees will receive their certificates via CELPA. The process has almost been completed. The content has been validated, everything is up and running on the ground to provide this training, and all that’s left to do is to fine-tune the administrative process in order to guarantee certification.

Pedro Serafim believes that next October it will be possible to provide training whose certification is recognised by CELPA, by the Autoridade das Condições do Trabalho (ACT) {Authority for Working Conditions} and by the Direcção-Geral do Emprego e das Relações de Trabalho (DGERT) {Directorate-General for Employment and Labour Relations} as training leading to a qualification.