NTI eyes concerted solutions to recruitment shortfall

Continual driver education and skills development are crucial, insurer says

NTI eyes concerted solutions to recruitment shortfall
Mike Edmonds


Leading truck insurer National Transport Insurance (NTI) backs NatRoad on its recently announcement program to address the heavy vehicle transport and logistics skills shortage, and calls on all industry bodies to work together in developing a national solution.

NTI’s general manager commercial Mike Edmonds notes that increasing diversity and reducing barriers to entry has long been a focus for his firm.

"The industry continues to call for national solutions to challenges. Currently there are a number of bodies working on this particular challenge, and NTI is calling on all parties to work together to achieve a national solution," Edmonds says.

"NTI made a change around four years ago in consultation with industry representatives, to overhaul our driver acceptance criteria and change the snapshot of what the workforce looks like.

"The agreed approach reflects the need for appropriate experience and training to ensure the safety of all road users; Industry driven, industry approved."

"Our goal since then has been to reflect Australia’s licencing system, which supports graduated pathways for drivers, and to align driver experience with vehicle combinations."

Australian Trucking Association (ATA) chair Geoff Crouch says governments need to match the industry’s commitment by upgrading truck driver licensing.

Read about NTI’s recent commitment to NTARC’s future, here

"A recent review of the National Heavy Vehicle Driver Competency Framework found that the standard of training and assessment was inadequate," Crouch says.

"It pointed out, for example, that the existing Heavy Rigid licensing unit did not cover key safety skills such as driving down steep descents and avoiding skids.

"Governments need to act rapidly to improve truck driver licensing. This would improve safety and make truck driving more attractive as a skilled, safe occupation."

One of the ways NTI works with business owners and operators to encourage the next generation of operators to come on board, is to work case-by-case and agree on pathways to competency.

"The challenges that young drivers face generally apply to inexperienced drivers of all ages. Our work in this space has seen NTI overhaul our driver acceptance criteria to attract not only young talent, but more talent," Edmonds says.

"Freight movement is becoming more and more complex, so it’s also important to support continual driver education and skills development.

"That’s what keeps operators progressing through vehicle configurations and specialised freight movement.

"Our priority is first and foremost based on safety outcomes for all road users. Our data tells us that inappropriate speed, driver error and fatigue remain the largest contributing factors in incidents involving heavy vehicles for all drivers – irrespective of age."


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