Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

 
Embarking down the Road to success

Embarking down the Road to success

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

 February 2021   

The Road Transport Forum is excited to be on the cusp of launching the industry’s Te ara ki tua Road to success programme that seeks to assist road transport operators to recruit new trainees and get on top of our industry’s considerable workforce problems. 

“A huge amount of work has gone into working with both the industry and government to develop the programme and we believe that over the next five to 10 years it can, if the industry continues to support it, play a major role in helping operators take on new staff,” says RTF chief executive Nick Leggett. 

“We know from an extensive workforce survey we did with over 600 operators in early 2020, and through last October’s Road to success industry roadshow, that a large number of trucks are currently parked-up because of the lack of drivers. We also know that in parts of the country the recruitment of new people into trucking is down to a trickle and if we don’t do something dramatic, we will likely have a serious labour shortage on our hands.”

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The Road Transport Forum is excited to be on the cusp of launching the industry’s Te ara ki tua Road to success programme that seeks to assist road transport operators to recruit new trainees and get on top of our industry’s considerable workforce problems. 

“A huge amount of work has gone into working with both the industry and government to develop the programme and we believe that over the next five to 10 years it can, if the industry continues to support it, play a major role in helping operators take on new staff,” says RTF chief executive Nick Leggett. 

“We know from an extensive workforce survey we did with over 600 operators in early 2020, and through last October’s Road to success industry roadshow, that a large number of trucks are currently parked-up because of the lack of drivers. We also know that in parts of the country the recruitment of new people into trucking is down to a trickle and if we don’t do something dramatic, we will likely have a serious labour shortage on our hands.”

The good news is that Road to success will support industry employers to take on trainees. The training, which is a mixture of practical and theoretical components, is designed to lead directly to qualifications specifically relevant to our industry. It also allows recruits to undertake large chunks of it while going about their normal day-to-day jobs. 

“This, I believe, will encourage people to get into our industry and provide operators with the confidence that new, inexperienced staff will quickly learn the ropes and be safe and productive members of the industry’s workforce,” says Leggett.

A lot of operators already undertake some inhouse or external training. However, that is largely based on progressing drivers through the various driver licence levels. What Road to success seeks to do is make the industry more appealing to young people starting out on a career, or those looking to try something new, by offering formal qualifications while they work and earn money.

“The reality for a lot of young people is that they simply do not have the luxury of gaining qualifications before they enter the workforce so it is imperative that as an industry, road transport offers them the chance to both earn a decent wage and work towards qualifications at the same time,” says Leggett.  

“When it comes to recruits things are looking good,” says Leggett.

“Already the Ministry for Social Development has come to the party and has undertaken to provide the industry with up to 50 trainees per year, while there has also been considerable interest from high school graduates at a career events RTF has attended. 

“On the other side of the coin, the roadshow that Graham Sheldrake and Mark Ngatuere held in October has meant that we have a good number of operators across the country ready to take on these trainees.”

Traditionally a big bone of contention for operators has been spending the time and money employing and training someone….just for that person to leave for a job elsewhere in the industry. 

“While this is an understandable concern in a commercial environment, it is a fear we need to do our best to park at the kerb,” says Leggett. 

“When it comes to the industry’s workforce it will take a collective effort to turn around the current situation and that will take a certain degree of selflessness. Nothing we can ever do individually will really make a dent in the problem.”

It is also critical that operators treat the training of recruits as a collective good for our industry, because that is one of the key ways employers can be sure of high standards of industry safety and productivity into the future. 

As one attendee at the Road to success roadshow in October very succinctly said: “I’d rather train a person and lose them than not train a person and have them stay in my company.”

RTF now has two staff members, Fiona McDonagh and Caleb Rapson Nuñez del Prado, dedicated to Road to success and a website will be up and running in the near future. If anyone wants to know more about the programme in the meantime or how to go about registering your interest, either as a trainee or a potential employer, please contact RTF at caleb@rtf.nz


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