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Prime Mover Magazine

Changing public perception key to combating driver shortage: VTA

The current training regimes for truck driving don’t convey a suitable understanding of the application and skills required to operate a modern commercial heavy vehicle according to VTA Chief Executive Officer, Peter Anderson.

In a radio interview with 3AW today, Anderson said the public perception of truck driving needed to change in order to combat the growing driver shortage as the road transport industry looks at encouraging young people to consider driving trucks as a viable career path. 

“We’ve been suffering from a lack of drivers for quite some time now,” he told 3AW Breakfast with Ross and John.

“It’s time to attract people into the industry as a career and keep them in the industry.”

“We need to educate people and train better to see the industry as a career of choice based around the qualifications and experience of those that apply themselves accordingly.”

It currently takes two years to become a fully-fledged truck driver. Drivers must have had a probationary passenger vehicle licence for 12 months before they can attempt to qualify for a rigid truck licence. A rigid truck licence must be held for 12 months before a driver can go for a semi-trailer licence.

Anderson said encouraging more 457 visas, which granted overseas skilled visitors temporary worker status in Australia, was not the answer.

The future of the industry hinged on the increased participation of younger drivers said Anderson. Despite the long hours trucking paid extremely well and provided for families.

“There’s a lot of truck drivers who are enjoying a very stable and enjoyable lifestyle,” said Anderson.

He said the public perception needed to change so that people regarded it as a specialised skill.

“Driving a truck is a lot different than driving a car. The skill of driving a truck in some circumstances is exceptional by individuals. It takes some time to understand the dynamics and the physics of how a truck really works,” said Anderson.

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