Tasmania launches pilot program for new industry workers

A new statewide pilot program in Tasmania has been launched to up-skill heavy vehicle licence holders in the wake of industry shortages.

The recently launched ‘Heavy Vehicle Driver Licencing (HVDL) Plus’ program, was designed by the Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA) and has been supported with $80,000 from the Tasmanian state government.

Once in the program, heavy vehicle licence holders will learn skills in areas such as fatigue management, transport industry laws, regulations and compliance and safe manual handling. From there, participants will be put in contact with potential employers.

Tasmanian Infrastructure Minister Michael Ferguson applauded the 12-month pilot program and commended TTA president John De Bruyn, managing director of De Bruyn’s Transport, for jumping on board.

“This industry is delivering more goods by road and rail and sea and air than ever before,” Ferguson said.

“I commend transport industry company De Bruyn Transport for their leadership in this space.”

Michelle Harwood, executive director of the Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA) equally thankful for the State government’s assistance and those companies who’ve leant their support to the program.

“I’d really like to thank the assistance we’ve been afforded by the minister,” said Harwood.

Other businesses have offered up assistance and resources include Bonney Energy, Monson Logistics and SRT Logistics – who’s compliance manager Justin King, was a key instigator in the development of the program.

HVDL Plus will up-skill heavy vehicle licence holders in the face of industry shortages.

In the first week of the program, the participants will be spending a day in the workplace of a different transport business, with each session covering a theory component.

“On the first day we covered mass dimension vehicle classes and the National Heavy Vehicle Law (NHVL) and Chain of Responsibility (CoR). We covered what to actually do when you enter a checking station, what the procedures are and compliance practices,” said Harwood.

The day at Monson Energy concentrated on load restraint, including calculations and methods of load restraint and practical applications, while yesterday’s program at De Bruyn’s focussed heavily on fatigue management.

National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) CEO, Sal Petroccitto and Operations Manager, Paul Simionato were also on hand to provide advice.

“We also had a presentation from Tasmanian State Roads on the Heavy Vehicle Access management System to show participants where they can go in the network with different vehicle classes,” said Harwood.

At SRT, participants will be looking at safe driving programs, such as rollover thresholds, centre of gravity, crash avoidance and other preventative activities.

“It’s the skills that professional drivers develop over time that we want to accelerate with new people coming in,” said Harwood.

With Tasmania and the TTA being so proactive in the areas of driver development and training, Harwood believes the program could be developed on a national scale, but was quick to acknowledge the input from other associations.

“I think it’s also important to give a nod to the work done by the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) trying to reform the licencing system. They’ve spend a lot of time developing a program that bundles all of this in,” said Harwood.

“We knew at this point that we couldn’t wait to try and change the licencing system until we put the effort into developing some new drivers.

“It’s all about trying to back-fuel what sits between the licence and employment. We’re all just working within the structures that apply within our states to try and achieve the same outcome.”

More information about the HVDL Plus program can be found here.

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