While road infrastructure will be challenged by volume, the road freight industry continues to be challenged by a lack of people to resource their businesses.
The road freight industry is in urgent need of an injection of experienced heavy vehicle drivers to address the ongoing driver shortage. A viable job ready employment program that will ensure the road freight industry has the capability to meet the future growth and demand of road freight movement in Queensland needs to be funded by government.
While we commend the government for approving the Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship in Queensland and providing a formal pathway for drivers to train, this is a more longer-term solution to a problem that needs addressing now.
The Queensland Trucking Association has developed the QTA Jobs Ready Program. It will provide a solution that can be achieved in the short term. This program will produce competency based skilled licensed heavy vehicle drivers of a quality that will satisfy employers who are desperately needing to fill positions. These prospective candidates will be job ready to a standard set by employers.
This program addresses key issues confronting the Queensland road freight industry with the supply and training of job ready quality drivers into safe, long-lasting employment in a dynamic, innovative, and future driven industry.
Employers want safe, competent, job ready candidates who view the industry as a career of choice that offers financially stable employment with long term prospects.
Under the current licensing systems, there is no recognition of the value of industry experience, acquired knowledge and responsibility associated with operating a heavy vehicle. This prevents competent drivers attaining upgraded license levels without serving the set periods for upgrades. These set periods do not mean a driver has actual driving experience. As an industry we can do much better with some government support for an industry led, employer driven driver training program.
A professional driver development/job ready program will provide a solution to the driver shortage for employers who are needing to fill the ongoing vacancies in their businesses due to the growing freight task as well as the impacts of an ageing workforce in the industry.
This will also contribute to an elevated public view of the importance of the role that professional drivers perform to keep trucks on the road delivering freight to all corners of the country. The program will aim to provide people of all ages looking for secure employment in a vitally important industry with the opportunity to learn new skills, upgrade skills or re-train in a new industry and transition into secure employment.
This program based upon the Curriculum Framework designed by industry is strongly supported by commercial road freight operators committed to taking on drivers that have been through a competency-based system and emerging with job ready skills.
We need government to act now and fund the QTA Jobs Ready Program to secure the future of the road freight industry.