Careers & Training, News

Traineeships give disadvantaged youth a start in transport

A young truck driver has told how a traineeship program for disadvantaged youth from diverse backgrounds helped him to get a great job in the transport industry.

Brandon Ugle is a member of the indigenous community, hailing from the Minang tribe in Albany, WA.

The 28-year-old first heard about the Frank Cardaci Traineeship Program at Centurion through the Clontarf Foundation, an association that works to improve the education and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men.

He signed up for the program in 2022, starting out as a trainee freight officer and quickly moving up through the ranks to become a driver.

“Before this job, I had no experience whatsoever in warehousing or transport,” he said.

“The traineeship was a great introduction to the industry, we learned everything and anything.

“I’ve been with Centurion for two years now and it’s the longest I have stayed in one job, which shows how much I like it.”

As part of his traineeship, Ugle gained a wealth of on-the-job experience and achieved a Certificate III in Supply Chain Operations from South Metropolitan TAFE.

Other aspects of the program included education in financial literacy, career goal setting, and mental health.

Ugle said that traineeships like Centurion’s are an important way to encourage more diversity in the transport industry.

“I think the industry is quite diverse overall, but I haven’t seen very many indigenous drivers,” he said.

“The fact that we are a low percentage of drivers didn’t put me off applying though – it actually pushed me to go for it more.”

Some of the graduates created indigenous artwork as part of the program. Image: Centurion

He encourages other young indigenous people to enter the transport industry, sharing some advice.

“If you’re applying for a job and you have no experience, it can be tough.

“With a traineeship, you get more out of it – more knowledge and more opportunity.

“My main advice is not to be scared to ask questions. If you’re not sure about something, always ask for more information.”

Named after one of the founders of Centurion, the Frank Cardaci Traineeship Program started as a scheme aimed solely at indigenous youth.

It has since been extended to any young person who has faced barriers to employment, regardless of their background.

Now in its eleventh year, Centurion’s Development Pathways business partner Jason Tincknell said the program has helped many young people to kick off their careers.

“There are so many roadblocks that can prevent young people from getting a start,” he said.

“This program is about giving people an opportunity and supporting them to grow their skills and their confidence, so that they can be good members of the community.

“That is very important, regardless of what industry we’re in, but from an industry point of view we need to encourage and provide opportunities for new entrants.

“Our business has expanded a lot in recent years, and this program helps us grow while providing jobs for people in the communities we work with.”

Ugle with some of his graduate cohort and members of the Cardaci family (L to R) Phil Cardaci, Shemar Burton, Brandon Ugle, Jordan Brooks, Lang Pickett, Luke Grenfell, Justin Cardaci

He added that Centurion puts a lot of care into finding the right roles for the right trainees.

“It’s not about hiring as many young people as we can, putting them in a job and seeing how they go,” he said.

“It’s about making sure we have the right fit for our business, but it’s also about the individuals and making sure they are comfortable in their workplace and have a good experience.”

Ugle is far from the only success story the program has seen over the years.

“Anyone who is able to finish their traineeship has generally been through a few ups and downs,” Tincknell continued.

“Seeing their resilience, their ability to overcome barriers and take on the advice from their mentors is amazing.”

He said getting the mentees through their first year can often be the biggest challenge.

“If they haven’t worked before, and they go straight into full-time work, that motivation can start to wane a bit,” he said.

“There was one young fellow in particular, he was struggling with coming to work.

“We were able to have a chat with him and help him see what he had achieved in the program so far, and that helped to reinvigorate him.”

Now over a year after their chat, that young man has graduated and is one of the highest performers in his team.

“When you see students come out the other end and they start to take responsibility for their own journey, that’s when you know the program has been beneficial.” 

If you are interested in applying for the Frank Cardaci Traineeship Program, contact Centurion’s Learning and Development Team at

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