A recurring theme in many parts of the economy last year was the impact of chronic labour shortages due to a combination of border closures and Covid close contact restrictions limiting the availability of workers around the country.
With borders now open and Covid restrictions all but scrapped, the situation is expected to improve in 2023, however the transport industry can still expect shortages to persist because of structural issues the industry has long faced and is working hard to overcome.
An ageing worker profile and state licencing regulations that limit our capacity to recruit drivers after leaving school takes time to correct, underscoring the importance of planning ahead for operators’ labour needs.
Notwithstanding worker shortages, the transport and logistics industry will continue to grow, and it will require well trained and motivated employees to support this growth.
This has underpinned the Victorian Transport Association’s development of programs to deliver a pathway for new entrants to the transport industry to be trained as job-ready long-term employees in freight and logistics.
The Freight Workforce Project introduced last year demonstrates the benefits of quality training individuals who can bring real value as safe, competent, and professional transport workers. The project is creating over 125 jobs in the transport and logistics industry, providing a sustainable pathway into heavy vehicle driving, forklift driving and warehousing roles.
Candidates are supplied by Jobs Victoria and focus on women, women over 45, Indigenous people, new migrants, and people under 25. The program provides the project manager and participant ample opportunity to understand the values and expectations that exist in the transport industry and determine their readiness and commitment before the provision of any training.
As a complement to the program, the VTA continues to offer a range of training that can lead to careers as transport industry professionals.
Transition to Transport is an intensive one-day, nine-module course that will provide those new to the industry with in-depth knowledge of the supply chain, logistics, transport operations and associated regulations.
Driver Delivery is a 10-day training, mentoring and ‘behind-the-wheel’ instruction experience to new heavy vehicle drivers. Individuals completing the Driver Delivery Program will obtain a Heavy Rigid licence and will learn advanced driving practices and principles.
Our Forklift Training Program is a five-day training program which includes both practical and theory training, and our two-day Warehouse Training is a two-day specialised training program that provides the individual with a basic knowledge of warehouse functions, safety, and environment.
What’s unique about these programs is that they produce job-ready candidates and have the support of the VTA to place candidates in paid transport work, along with professional mentoring to assist their transition into the workplace. The mentor relationship is quickly established to ensure candidates concerns and needs are addressed, and they are given a clear understanding of the timelines, responsibilities and expectations.
The other great thing about these programs is that they are available right now for operators looking to train or recruit staff to benefit from. For the many operators we know of that have found it difficult to attract qualified workers, now is the time to assess your labour needs for the year ahead and get a jump on competitors who face the same persistent labour challenges.
Like many industries, there is presently a significant shortage of workers in the transport industry, so if operators are looking for staff or individuals are looking for a new career path in freight and logistics, contact the VTA on 03 9646 8590 or visit vta.com.au/freight-training/ or vta.com.au/driver-delivery/.
Attracting and retaining staff will be a major focus of the VTA State Conference, sponsored by TWUSUPER and being held from March 19-21 at Silverwater Resort, Phillip Island.
Under the theme of People First – Managing Transport’s Greatest Asset, the conference will feature a range of speakers on the issues of greatest interest to our industry – human resources, infrastructure, heavy vehicle driver licencing reform, and safety and technology, to name but a few.
Registration is now open at vta.com.au and I invite you to join us for what promises to be another fantastic and insightful VTA State Conference.