We must do more on driver training: TLISC

Trucking industry must do more to tap into local labour market to beat skills shortages, according to the TLISC

By Michael House | February 10, 2010

Australian workers must remain a priority for the transport industry as it attempts to address its skills shortage, according to the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC).

Federal Immigration Minister Chris Evans on Monday outlined plans to redefine the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) in an attempt to cap migration and ensure only the most needed immigrants enter the country.

The recently announced scheme will scrap the Migration Occupants List (MODL) immediately, which is described as outdated by Evans.

TLISC Chairman Rob Adams there is unlikely to be any push from the transport industry to have skills such as truck drivers added to the new list.

"The issues of attracting sufficient skilled labour to the industry needs to take into account the degree to which [the transport] industry has tapped into the local labour market, including people who are not employed or are underemployed," Adams says.

"This needs to be done well before any consideration for importing skills is taken.

Adams says the industry must focus heavily on creating an environment where truck driving is viewed as viable long term career through initiatives like on-going training.

He says such schemes are currently in progress and is confident that they will begin to pay benefits.

"Recent work undertaken by the industry and its regulators has been the embedding of the licence requirements for truck drivers into nationally endorsed qualifications," Adams says.

"What this means in effect is that any driver who completes a driving assessment in the future would also have gained credits towards a national qualification.

Adams says this, coupled with the Australian Trucking Association’s (ATA) designing of new models for licence articulation, has the potential to move more drivers into the industry more effectively with competency being the key driver for licence upgrades.

"We have the available personnel in Australia to move into the transport industry we just have to make the training available to them and create a mindset in the industry that a licence is not the end point for training driver, it’s just the beginning," he says.

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