Industry hails federal JobTrainer spending pledge

Initiative seen as opportunity to boost flagging recruitment and skills

Industry hails federal JobTrainer spending pledge
Peter Anderson


The transport and logistics industry may never have a better opportunity at recruitment than now and is hoping the federal government’s training support initiative give that effort wings.

Both the Victorian Transport association (VTA) and the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) hail the newly announced $500 million JobTrainer package that aims to support job seekers and school leavers with gaining skills.

The transport industry has been experiencing a skills shortage for many years due to an aging workforce and young workers seeking jobs in other professions.

The VTA expects the initiative to aid its Driver Delivery and other training programs.

 "The transport industry has suffered from a shortage of skilled and qualified workers for many years and the JobTrainer program will be of enormous assistance to our members as we continue to upskill workers and try and increase the appeal of a career in transport among young people," VTA CEO Peter Anderson says.

"Transport is a highly-skilled profession and the establishment of training programs that offer the essential skills demanded by freight and logistics operators is an important part of positioning transport work as being much more than just a job."

The VTA sees JobTrainer is a "perfect fit" for the transport sector because it targets young people and school-leavers the VTA has been working trying to attract to lifelong careers as professional transport workers.

"As an Association we will continue to develop programs to appeal to young people and are looking for support from our members and the broader transport industry to put young, capable and qualified people to work in transport," Anderson says.

"Through Driver Delivery, the VTA has partnered successfully with the Victorian government to train, upskill and place over 100 people into well-paid positions with transport companies, and in the process improve the quality of training and competency of the driver, which benefits employers, employees and the public.

"We look forward to learning more about the JobTrainer program and working with the Commonwealth and Victorian governments to help educate and train new participants to our industry and bring a new level of professionalism to our sector."

The ATA notes the JobTrainer package, will run new courses identified by the National Skills Commission, for thousands of workers. The package is expected to assist 340,000 trainees and 180,000 apprentices gain the skills needed to fill new jobs in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.  

"The trucking industry is essential to the Australian way of life and home to many valuable and fulfilling career opportunities," ATA CEO Ben Maguire says.

Read about the draft T&L national skills outlook, here

"The ATA and our members are very keen to see more support for new starters entering the industry, whether as truck drivers or heavy vehicle mechanics.

"The JobTrainer package will provide a much-needed boost for those considering a career in our industry."

The government announcement also saw a $1.5 billion extension of the apprentice wage subsidy to medium businesses with fewer than 200 employees.

"This investment in our future workforce highlights the government’s support for industry, and commitment to ensuring its sustainability," Maguire says.

In addition to offering more VET courses, the ATA wants governments to upgrade the truck driver licensing system.

"There are excellent truck driver trainers in Australia, including ATA member DECA Training, but others train to a price or a time," Maguire says.

"A draft review of the truck driver licensing framework was released in May 2018. It confirmed that the existing system is inadequate.

"For example, the review assessed the heavy rigid licensing unit against 10 safety risks that the review team identified.

"They found that the unit failed to address six out of the 10 safety risks and only partly addressed the other four.

"Transport departments have now commissioned another round of consultancies into driver training.

"These consultancies need to be brought to a close and a better licensing system implemented as a matter of urgency."

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) argues that the spending be aimed at advanced systems.

"The Covid-19 pandemic has reinforced the importance of efficient, safe and resilient supply chain operations in Australia, and the influence of technology will increasingly be felt as operators seek to enhance their performance," ALC CEO Kirk Coningham says.

"This has been evident over recent weeks, as leading companies including Qube Holdings, Woolworths Group and Amazon Australia.

"This has been evident over recent weeks, as leading companies including highlighted the need for the freight and logistics sector to enhance its focus on digital skills.

"The federal government has indicated that a critical part of the JobTrainer initiative will be for states and territories to work with the National Skills Commission to develop a list of qualifications and skill sets that will provide job seekers with the skills that are in demand by employers and are critical to our post-Covid economic recovery.

"As part of that process, ALC will actively encourage all governments to place a particular emphasis on improving digital skills in the freight and logistics sector, to enhance overall supply chain performance and to improve Australia’s international competitiveness."



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