NatRoad 19: Multi-faceted driver shortage solution


Employment portal to launch; driver accreditation scheme proposed

NatRoad 19: Multi-faceted driver shortage solution
Warren Clark

 

The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) has reinforced its support for industry recruitment in the face of the developing crisis of driver shortages, with the creation of a new employment portal headlining a multi-pronged approach to addressing the problem.

Speaking at the association’s 2019 conference, CEO Warren Clark says public image, combined with a poor internal perception, is contributing to an increasing risk of "limiting the growth of industry".

"There are simply not enough young people coming in, which is a problem for all of us," he says.

Clark underscores his desire for a heavy vehicle operation being recognised as skilled trade, and the skill level of new entrants being adequate to undertake the task.

To facilitate this, NatRoad is launching a dedicated road transport employment portal, and is proposing a driver accreditation scheme to recognise best-practice drivers.

THREE-PHASE SOLUTION

Clark is keen for government, business and industry collaboration for a three-phase solution to tackle the driver shortage.

Phase one involves targeting "the intended audience" – school leavers – and understanding and providing what they want.

Apart from a good wage, this includes "flexibility, work life balance, progression, pathways, professional development and training".

The gender gap needs addressing, Clark says, as does industry’s relationship with government and media.


Read about the driver shortage from an educator and insurance perspective, here


 "Industry needs to be at forefront of the decision-making process," he says.

Phase two then involves improving the quality and consistency of training and lifting standards so "drivers deliver loads safely".

A tenet of this involves introducing a driver accreditation scheme, which links to a driver’s skill and professionalism levels.

The next step to this would involve working with insurance companies to reduce the risk profile of companies compliant in the driver recruitment area.

Phase three would be to establishing a recognised trade certificate for industry.

However, as this can take four-five years to establish, "we can’t wait that long so we would rather target the other areas first", Clark says.

In a desire to be a "conduit between employers and employees", NatRoad has worked to develop a road transport-specific employment portal with the support of PACCAR and Dealer Industry Fund

The website which will go live in August, is dedicated specifically to transport with resources for employers and job seekers including:

  • Training and career paths options
  • Industry vacancies across various streams
  • Transport specific portal for employers to list jobs
  • Access to an efficient online process to manage your recruitment

"We want it to be a one-stop shop for closing the gap between employees and employers," Clark says.

"Currently, there is no dedicated platform available to both job seekers and employers to source information on opportunities and career paths available within the industry. The website will provide employers with a massive opportunity to engage directly with highly qualified candidates."

TICK OF APPROVAL

Labor Senator Glenn Sterle reinforced his commitment to giving industry a louder voice in parliament should his party be victorious at the upcoming election.

He backs creating opportunities for road transport workers in terms of apprenticeships and training, and says he will be "joined at the hip with the transport industry" to advance its interests in parliament.

With transport seldom included "in tax or infrastructure conversations", his plans would be to reconvene the road transport forum he held recently and establish a reference group to speak on behalf of industry to the government.

 

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