News, Training

Heavy vehicle driving qualification push in WA

heavy vehicle

Through the Heavy Vehicle Driving Operations Skill Set offered in Western Australia, more than 230 graduates of the program have found employment after acquisition of heavy rigid (HR) licences.

The WA Government’s Heavy Vehicle Driving Operations Skill Set has been developed in collaboration with multiple industries and in direct response to the truck driver shortage emphasised during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The qualifications and opportunities for employment additionally have relevance to the quarrying and mining industries, with HR licences essential for many tasks on site.

Providing theoretical and practical hands-on truck driver training at the state-of-the-art Driver Risk Management facility located near Perth Airport, the program aims to train 1,000 job-ready workers to combat skills shortages across the quarrying, construction and transport industries.

Since the program began in April 2021, 232 graduates of the program have gained employment following their completion. Additionally, there has been a strong uptake from women in the program.

According to the WA government, around 30 per cent of participants in the course have been women, increasing the representation of women in the traditionally male-dominated field of truck driving.

With a focus on providing accessibility for skill building, Minister for Education and Training, Sue Ellery, said that the training offered is designed with the intent to make participants job-ready.

“The Heavy Vehicle Driving Operations Skill Set is a fantastic example of how the McGowan Government is working with industries with skills shortages to train the job-ready workers they need to continue delivering for our State,” Ellery said.

“Its success in producing more than 230 workers for the transport and logistics, civil construction, and mining industries since it was launched last year further highlights our Government’s commitment to supporting industries to meet critical workforce needs.

“This program provides participants with real hands-on experience and practical hours in heavy haulage to help them become job-ready, and get more skilled drivers on our roads.

“It’s also great to see such a high number of women taking part and those delivering the course supporting more women into an occupation that has traditionally had very low numbers of them.”

The six-week metropolitan course is available through Central Regional and South Regional TAFEs – in collaboration with industry – and is free for eligible participants.

The course has also been expanded to regional areas with a 10-week program now running in South-West WA due to the success of the initial program. The program ultimately aims to train 500 new workers in HR licences and upskill 500 existing workers from HR licences to Heavy Combination and/or Multi-Combination licences.

Speaking on the benefits of the program, Western Roads Federation chief executive officer, Cam Dumesny, re-emphasised the importance of the industry and the inclusion of women therein.

“We’re seeing a strong interest from women wanting to join the industry and the trend is very welcome news, as so many employers are keen to employ more female drivers because of the different skills and positive attributes they bring,” Dumesny said.

“This program has provided a much-needed boost to the transport industry and we’re incredibly grateful for the WA Government’s support of our essential industry – because the only thing we don’t deliver are babies.”

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