Leading manufacturers invest in SkillsTech truck mechanics

By: Cobey Bartels

Recent donations have further strengthened SkillsTech's Acacia Ridge resources

Leading manufacturers invest in SkillsTech truck mechanics
Left to right (not including students): SkillsTech teacher Ken Shield, Dana Australia CFO Andrew Moore, Dana Australia GM Peter Langworthy, SkillsTech GM Mary Campbell, Dana Australia customer support manager Shane Carey, SkillsTech teacher Steve Thorley, SkillsTech executive director of education John Tucker, SkillsTech business manager Kaz Harris-Brown.


The Tafe Queensland SkillsTech facility at Acacia Ridge has turned out some of the state’s best truck mechanics since its inception in 2011, and their commitment to offering the best training on the latest gear is further strengthened through industry partnerships.

With brands like Dana Australia, Eaton, Komatsu, Cummins, Brown and Hurley and Volvo Group Australia (VGA) donating equipment, tooling, training and resources, SkillsTech has forged a dominant reputation in the training space.

Dana Australia and Eaton both recently donated a range of new parts and equipment to SkillsTech with the aim of ensuring the next generation of mechanics is familiar with their products, both new and old.

Dana donated eight forward drive heads, consisting of D170 units commonly used for on-highway applications, and D190 units that typically see road train and heavy haulage use.

In conjunction with the drive heads, Dana provided the tooling required to work on the units – giving students the opportunity to pull apart and rebuild the latest in axle technology.

Considering a large number of Kenworth, Mack and Western Star trucks in Australia run Dana axles; this is a huge perk for students.

The donations from Eaton also involved the latest gear, in the form of six of the manufacturer’s current RTLO-918 18-speed transmissions.

The sizeable donation from Eaton, along with previous donations, has allowed SkillsTech to teach students to completely rebuild Road Ranger gearboxes.

In an era when many mechanics aren’t confident pulling open a gearbox to fault find and recondition, SkillsTech ensures students know their way around the latest Eaton ‘boxes.

SkillsTech Acacia Ridge business manager Kaz Harris-Brown, says the donations help both the training facility and the broader industry, keeping the gear current and the students well-trained.

"It’s about making sure our students can train on the latest equipment, which is beneficial to them as well as industry," Harris-Brown says.

"The differentials that Dana replaced were quite old, so bringing these new donations in brings us up to the latest models."

SkillsTech’s constant focus on remaining at the forefront of the trucking industry landed one of their students, Angus Thomson, a fourth-year apprentice from Volvo Brisbane South, in the winning team at the 2017 HVIA National Apprentice Challenge at the Brisbane Truck Show two weeks ago.

"One of our teachers taught Angus Thompson all the way through and it’s good to see that he’s come out the other side as a fourth year," Harris-Brown says.

"Using all of his training, he’s come out on the winning team."

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