Western Roads Federation (WRF) is celebrating the announcement by the WA Government of $6.1 million in funding for an industry-developed program to train 1000 new truck drivers.
The six-week program has been developed collaboratively by the WA transport industry through WRF Members, LRTA-WA and the TWU.
Students will receive their licences and industry qualifications, and mentorship by experienced drivers, from on-road coaching, to basic maintenance, reversing and the myriad of other things a skilled truck driver needs to know, or be able to do, said the WRF.
“Advocating for a major investment in an industry designed driver training driver program to address the skills shortage has been a key focus of WRF for the last year,” said Craig Smith-Gander, Chair of Western Roads Federation.
“We are therefore delighted with the announcement of such a significant funding commitment by the Government.”
With a booming mining and resources sector, record spend on road infrastructure projects and increasing demand from the online delivery market the demand for skilled truck drivers and operations staff has been never been higher.
However, WRF says a shortage of skilled drivers is seriously threatening the ability of the state’s transport companies to meet demand.
Two programs will run, the first will take new people into the industry and train them to Heavy Rigid (HR) level. The second will take HR drivers up to Road Train (MC) level.
Both programs run over six weeks with the aim that trainees will be ready for employment upon graduation.
“Our members have already committed to employing the graduates of the program and will be taking an active role in the training,” added Smith-Gander.
He said the industry will be taking a lead role, and working closely with TAFE, Dept of Transport and Main Roads. Announcements of industry partners to assist in the delivery of training in Perth and across the regions will be announced in due course.
“This training program sets a new standard for developing professional truck drivers in Australia in the future we aim to move to a formal apprenticeship program, recognising the vast skill sets that are required by professional transport operators.”
The first intake in the metropolitan area expected to commence in March. Regional locations are also in development.
The formal training component of the course will be free for job seekers and people under 25.
A small contribution will be required for participation in separate practical driving lessons, which will accompany the training.
Course participants will get a credit toward the Certificate III in Driving Operations traineeship and a leg up to complete the full qualification.
For more information, visit https://www.jobsandskills.wa.gov.au or contact your local WA Jobs and Skills Centre on 13 64 64.