Drought-hit workers offered transport path

Workers from drought-affected areas in Queensland will be offered a career pathway to the transport industry

Workers from drought-affected areas in Queensland will be offered a career pathway to the transport industry under a State Government-backed program.

The Government says the project will help meet local demand for truck drivers while giving unemployed people relevant transport industry skills.

Eighty people from Goondiwindi, St George, Tara, Dalby, Warwick and Toowoomba will complete a two-week introduction course to the transport industry, allowing them to upgrade their drivers’ licences and move into jobs in the transport sector.

Participants will gain knowledge in driving and transport regulations, securing cargo, completing log books, fatigue management and workplace health and safety issues. Up to 10 driving lessons will be provided for each participant.

The Government is committing $174,730 to the project as part of its Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative, which is being managed by Ozcare.

The Minister for Transport, Trade, Employment and Industrial Relations, John Mickel, says an aging workforce requires full participation.

"Currently the transport industry doesn't have the skilled workers required to fill vacancies," he says. "So this project will help people build the skills needed by employers and industry and encourage a culture of training and development for drivers."

Ozcare Executive Manager Gavin Wright says the program aims to give rural families hope for the future.

"People on the land are doing it tough," he says. "By using the skills they already have, farmers can look at new career options and secure a more positive future for their families."

Mickel says the Government will invest $80 million in the Skilling Queenslanders for Work initiative to give an estimated 15,000 long-term unemployed and underemployed people job-related assistance and skills training to maximise labour force participation.

He says 71 percent of participants who received assistance over the past 12 months are in employment or further training.

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