The transport and logistics industry is grappling with meeting doubled demand for freight services by 2030. Challenges include a diminishing workforce in an industry plagued by ‘blokey’ stereotypes, but there are definite signs of change.
A new generation of transport specialists may be enticed into the industry as carriers continue to invest in new technologically advanced vehicles and national regulators and peak organisations take steps to improve safety levels.
Here are some of key factors that could turn the tide in attracting new talent to the industry
1. Safety first – Industry stakeholders are taking practical steps in making driving safer with initiatives such as the new chain of responsibility regulations, and improving training standards through Volvo’s involvement with TAFE-level qualifications. Currently long distance drivers must wait until they are 25 to take on better paid long haul jobs but training for driving heavy rigid vehicles is minimal.
2. Decreasing the average age of transport workers – Currently less than one in five truck drivers is aged under 30, according to a 2016 report in The Age. The commonly held belief is that millennials don’t want to take on long-distance driving in a blue collar industry but neither of these assertions is actually true.
3. Upping female participation – Women drivers are proving desirable assets in a male-dominated industry where vehicles often represent by far the biggest capital investment: employers in the mining sector have discovered that women are safer, more careful drivers of their expensive trucks.
Australian Trucking Association Chief Executive Ben Maguire says the freight sector has been short sighted about the role of women. “The reality is there are great opportunities for women, not just as drivers but as general managers, logistics specialists, accountants, lawyers, [and in] marketing and commercial operations,” he says.
4. Attracting tech experts – Truck driving is rapidly becoming a job that calls for technologically advanced skills as modern heavy vehicles increasingly incorporate automation such as lane change assistance, autonomous emergency braking, stability control systems and adaptive cruise control, driver alertness monitoring and satellite tracking, while being digitally connected on a number of levels.5. Funding for training is readily accessible – To meet their staffing needs many employers are willing to foot the bill for fees for gaining a licence through a driving school (costs range from $600 to $2400).
Two-year Certificate III in Driving Operations qualifications from registered training organisations are comprehensive in scope and are eligible for a range of government subsidies that can be paid to
- the training provider
- the student’s employer
- the student.
Drivers can upgrade their licences to advance to larger size and weights of vehicles – and higher pay rates (the national average is about $30 per hour).
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