Overwhelming industry support for a heavy vehicle driving apprenticeship has convinced the Industry Reference Committee (IRC) overseeing the proposal to give the concept its official tick of approval.
In a communique released today, the IRC recommends that a 2-4 year national apprenticeship be established utilising the existing Certificate 111 in Driving Operations (TLI 31221), which could be up and running as early as next year.
There are a still a series of implementation issues to be addressed while further consultation is underway with the Commonwealth, state training authorities, regulators and insurers.
But Australian Industry Standards (AIS) CEO Paul Walsh tells Big Rigs that he’s encouraged by the highest level of support from the transport and logistics sector ever seen with “strong” submissions across the board, and over 200 participants to an associated webinar, and a “significant” number of questions to the panellists.
“Which just demonstrated that people were inquisitive about what this might mean, which is very encouraging to see,” said Walsh.
“We were pretty pleased with the response rate but also the fact that the issues that were identified were not show-stoppers. It was more about if this happens, what will happen to existing arrangements.”
These issues include, but are not limited to the following:
- Transition arrangements for the current Traineeship
- Nominal term for the apprenticeship and flexibility
- Financial and supervisory implications for employers
- Suitability of apprenticeship for Bus and Dangerous Goods sectors
- Insurance premiums for under 25-year-old drivers
- Age-based versus competency-based licensing arrangements
- Pre-apprenticeship pathways
Walsh said the next step is to start conversations with the various state and territory authorities which are responsible for implementing the apprenticeships.
“But the great thing here is that industry stakeholders are keen to be involved in any of those conversations to make sure they identify solutions.”
Walsh said the most significant step with the apprenticeship concept is that it builds the pathway from school which doesn’t exist now and opens up more funding opportunities for employers.
“The other important thing to state is that it’s not mandated that you have to do an apprenticeship to get into the industry. That’s something that may be considered in the future, if people thinks that’s the right way to go.”