The Australian Government’s JobTrainer package will upskill jobseekers and school leavers, and encourage more skilled workers to join the trucking industry, Australian Trucking Association (ATA) CEO Ben Maguire said today.
Mr Maguire was responding to the announcement of the Government’s $500 million JobTrainer package, which will run new courses, identified by the National Skills Commission, for thousands of workers. The package is expected to assist 340,000 trainees and 180,000 apprentices gain the skills needed to fill new jobs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The trucking industry is essential to the Australian way of life and home to many valuable and fulfilling career opportunities,” Mr Maguire said.
“The ATA and our members are very keen to see more support for new starters entering the industry, whether as truck drivers or heavy vehicle mechanics.
“The JobTrainer package will provide a much-needed boost for those considering a career in our industry,” he said.
Today’s government announcement also saw a $1.5 billion extension of the apprentice wage subsidy to medium businesses with fewer than 200 employees.
“This investment in our future workforce highlights the government’s support for industry, and commitment to ensuring its sustainability,” Mr Maguire said.
Mr Maguire said in addition to offering more VET courses, governments must upgrade the truck driver licensing system.
“There are excellent truck driver trainers in Australia, including ATA member DECA Training, but others train to a price or a time,” Mr Maguire said.
“A draft review of the truck driver licensing framework was released in May 2018. It confirmed that the existing system is inadequate.
“For example, the review assessed the heavy rigid licensing unit against ten safety risks that the review team identified. They found that the unit failed to address six out of the ten safety risks and only partly addressed the other four.
“Transport departments have now commissioned another round of consultancies into driver training. These consultancies need to be brought to a close and a better licensing system implemented as a matter of urgency,” he said.
The ATA and its member associations collectively represent the 50,000 businesses and 200,000 people in the Australian trucking industry. Together, the ATA and its members are committed to safety, professionalism and viability.