The critical necessity to find a new generation of truck drivers in Western Australia has begun this week with the state government’s $6.1 million Heavy Vehicle Driving Operations Skill Set underway.
First announced in February, the six-week long pilot course aims to increase skilled workers through both theoretical and practical hands on truck driving at the state-of-the-art Driver Risk Management facility located at Perth Airport.
With 12 students currently enrolled in the course, Central Regional TAFE is now taking expressions of interest for future intakes and planning is underway to expand the training to the Mid-West, Goldfields and Great Southern regions in coming months.
The Western Australian Government is pushing its training sector as a key driver behind the state’s COVID-19 recovery.
Central Regional TAFE has partnered with Driver Risk Management to deliver the course which is free for eligible students and the Practical Driving Instruction Training and Assessment and licencing costs $500 for concession students and $1,250 for non-concession students.
An Australian-first, developed in consultation with the transport industry, the Heavy Vehicle Driving Operations Skill Set has been established to address driver shortages, by training 500 new workers in Heavy Rigid (HR) licences and upskilling an additional 500 existing drivers from HR licences to Heavy Combination (HC) and/or Multi-Combination (MC) licences.
On successful completion, participants obtain a Heavy Rigid; Heavy Combination; or Multi Combination class vehicle, and may apply for a forklift (LF) licence.
Western Roads Federation has been advising the State Government on issues affecting the industry, and has been instrumental in developing the expanded skill set to address unprecedented workforce demands due to COVID-19.
As the peak industry body, Western Roads Federation will mentor and support students on the path to employment, working to connect students to industry employers.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated how vital the freight industry and truck drivers are to our State and our economy,” said Transport Minister Rita Saffioti.
“We have worked collaboratively with industry to create this program to make sure it gives truck drivers the skills they need while also helping jobseekers increase their employability,” she said in a statement.
“Western Roads Federation and the Transport Workers’ Union approached the Premier, Minister for Education and Training and myself, asking to create a dedicated training course for truck drivers.
“I’m so pleased we have been able to roll out a training program that delivers what industry needs.”