Developing Effective Skills Training

Developing effective skills training in the workforce, in any workshop, is vital to the industry, it’s a matter of getting the right people to ensure the right quality of technician to handle the task of maintaining the fleets in Australia. During a visit to the Cummins Workshop at Carole Park in Brisbane, Diesel had the opportunity to speak with both the branch manager, Sean Hill and service manager, Keith Millington.

Sean was appointed to the role of branch manager in February this year and has accrued a wealth of experience within Cummins South Pacific. Starting as an apprentice technician at a Brisbane based Cummins dealer in early ’87, Sean completed his apprenticeship and spent a further four years there before heading west to spend six years working at Cummins’ Kalgoorlie operations.

Having honed his skills on mining equipment, Sean’s next career move saw him hop on a plane to Grasberg in West Papua, Indonesia, where he worked for just over nine years at the on-site Cummins facility servicing the massive Freeport mining operation.

His previous position was as branch manager of the Emerald (central QLD) Cummins dealership, a role he held for a little over five years.

Commenting on his time with Cummins and how it has equipped him with the necessary skills to fulfill the requirements of his current capacity, Sean concedes the rapid rate of change within the industry over the past three decades has served up more than a few challenges.

“We’ve seen many changes in terms of technology and approaches to how we do business,” said Sean. “Expectations of the workforce, truck owners and drivers as well as business expectations have all changed dramatically over the years.”

Asked whether this has been a catalyst for Cummins to embrace new ideas and directions in its operations, the answer from Sean was an emphatic yes.

“For sure, we embrace diversity and change but it has to be in the right direction, not just change for the sake of change, and aligning with the company’s core values. Obviously technology changes are ongoing, but there’s also been a substantial shift in the way our people have adapted to new challenges and developed along with the business.”

Sean explained that being an equal opportunity employer is taken very seriously by Cummins and every effort is made to give suitably skilled individuals a place within the company.

“We hire people from a diverse range of backgrounds with different capabilities,” said Sean. “The main requirements are they’re capable of doing the job and we have the appropriate role to accommodate them. We have a diverse range of roles and tasks that need to be done and there’s plenty of different people who can do those successfully.”

As a natural progression, the conversation moved to the topic of female apprentices and technicians, with Keith Millington explaining the company currently employs six females in the workshop, five of whom have completed their heavy commercial vehicle apprenticeships with the sixth due for completion in the coming months.