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‘Catch 22’ confronts trucking when it comes to new drivers

Training organisation is encouraging trucking operators to get proactive to make sure newly-licenced drivers stay in the industry

Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | October 23, 2012

A heavy vehicle training organisation is encouraging trucking operators to get proactive to make sure newly-licenced drivers stay in the industry.

Armstrong’s Driver Education says half of those who sit heavy vehicle licence tests with it leave the trucking industry within the first year due to a lack of work opportunities.

General Manager Alene McGowan says up to 2,500 people sit licence tests annually, but only 1 percent of them become employed within a year.

McGowan says operators need to put inexperienced drivers behind the wheel with a supervisor. Armstrong’s is currently working on establishing a work experience program for students within transport companies.

“One of the things we see is that without the experience, people won’t employ people,” McGowan says.

“We have the industry saying there’s a shortage of drivers but it’s a catch 22 and people won’t put inexperienced drivers behind the wheel.

“We totally support that and agree with that philosophy but unless we give people an opportunity somehow to gain the experience then we are going to continue to have a shortage within the industry.”

However, McGowan says transport companies with narrow profit margins are not in a position to put trainers in their vehicles all the time or have the flexibility to put two drivers in a vehicle.

She says the majority of people coming for a test are sitting for a heavy rigid licence and are aged between 28 and 48 years.

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