Awards, Careers & Training, News

Queensland transport business wins big at training awards

All Purpose Transport (APT) has taken home its third major award in as many months, being named Large Employer of the Year at the Australian Training Awards.

The business was recognised for its training program called ‘Project APT’.

Now running for 11 years, Project APT provides all staff and owner drivers with the opportunity to earn a formal qualification. In that time, over 500 workers have received a Certificate III or higher.

APT was started in 1975 and now employs approximately 120 staff and 300 owner-drivers. Its head office is in Berrinba, with another depot on the Sunshine Coast. The company services Queensland, providing taxi truck, furniture delivery, heavy haulage transport, refrigerated and courier services.

TAFE Queensland trainer Michael Muhleck, All Purpose Transport CEO Paul Kahlert, head of people and safety Belinda Polglase and finance manager Alex White.

Head of people and safety at APT, Belinda Polglase, says the team was thrilled to have received the Australian Training Awards accolade.

“We appreciate the recognition for the program. Eleven years on, we’ve continued to develop Project APT and have added layers,” she said, citing the longevity of the program and the impact it’s had on the company’s people.

According to Polglase, the award not only recognises the company’s efforts in developing and continuing the program, but also highlights the efforts staff have put into making the program such a success.

“Being able to earn these formal qualifications has had such a positive impact on our people and their families too. For some employees, it’s the first formal qualification they’ve had – and it’s something they are proud to go home and show to their family.

“We look at it as a lifelong learning and training journey. No matter where you start in your career, you need to have that opportunity to keep learning and developing – and that’s why we invest so much in our training.”

APT has partnered with TAFE Queensland since the program’s inception. Polglase attended the Australian Training Awards in Hobart on November 17, together with APT CEO Paul Kahlert, finance manager Alex White and TAFE Queensland trainer Michael Muhleck who has worked with the company since the beginning.

“We took the trainer from TAFE with us because he’s actually been part of this journey since 2012 as well and has continued the program with us,” said Polglase.

APT’s home delivery team with the award.

“When we started the program, it was about qualifying all people in their field of expertise – from the warehouse through to management. For driver operations for example, there’s a trainer that goes out in the truck with the drivers. Over the years we’ve added other components to the program too, including a one-year program where a trainer, who is also the CEO of a business, comes on site.

“He takes one day out of his month to do that training for us and provides real life experience. That’s being offered to people in the business who are already junior managers or are recognised as having the potential to become managers. They come out of that program with a qualification in leadership and management.”

One of APT’s slogans is “Best People = Best Business”.

“The best way of achieving that and maintaining that is by continuing to provide training to our people, whether that’s provided internally or by an external training partner,” Polglase added.

“One of reasons we originally started the program in 2012 was to try and improve retention. That was in a period where there was low unemployment so it was hard to get new people. So we thought, what can we do to appeal to more people and retain people too? I think this program has definitely had a big impact. If staff feel like they are being looked after, they are more likely to stay on.”

The Australian Training Awards are the peak national awards that showcase best practice in vocational education and training (VET). Winners from training awards in each state and territory compete for the national award title.

APT won the state training award in September after coming out on top in the regional awards a few months prior, where it won in the South East category.

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