Bulk haulage and logistics company Newhaul, and Fenix Resources Limited, have teamed up to launch their first Kickstart Training Academy in Geraldton in a bid to get more truck drivers on the road.
A $250,000 state government grant has been awarded for a new state-of-the-art simulator that will be used to help train new truck drivers.
Fenix-Newhaul were among five Mid West businesses to share in approximately $700,000 in the latest round of the state government’s Regional Economic Development Grants program.
Fenix-Newhaul will build driving simulators to fast-track the development of trainees and upskill heavy rigid licence holders.
Newhaul says the simulator is unlike any other currently used in Australia. The company says it is mounted on a full motion system to recreate driving inertia forces with the highest fidelity and realism, similar to a flight simulator. Learners will be training in a genuine dual seat truck cabin.
It will be built in Melbourne using the cab of Mack truck, which was donated by Mack Australia and is expected to be running by the end of the year.
“The contribution to our simulator investment by the state government is the second major coup in as many months for our first Kickstart Training Academy, having attracted respected transport veteran and passionate trainer Heather Jones to lead the Geraldton Academy,” said Newhaul founder Craig Mitchell.
Jones is behind the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls driver training project that was established in 2014. She says the opportunity to head-up the Kickstart Training Academy in Geraldton would provide a significant opportunity to continue her work in developing the next generation of safe and skilled drivers.
“The Academy will offer two training pathways for youth leaving school and mature age drivers wanting to upgrade their licence to the Multi Combination class. Our industry is currently experiencing a significant shortage of suitably qualified and experienced MC licence holders, which is a real issue for industries like mining that rely on bulk haulage,” Jones said.
Newhaul head of People, Culture and Training Tahnia Livesay says the first three youth trainees will begin at the academy this month, with the aim of being behind the wheel of 60 metre road trains within three years.
“If successful, our trainees have a once in a generational opportunity to build a highly rewarding and successful career as truck drivers and make a very real contribution to the state’s ongoing economic development at a time of high demand within the industry,” Livesay said.
Newhaul is hoping to launch a second Kickstart Training Academy in the East Kimberly to support separate joint venture partner Agrimin Limited’s proposed Mackay Potash project.