Westar Truck Centre Derrimut reckons it’s one of the largest commercial vehicle dealerships in Australia, one of its achievements is the success of a smart apprenticeship program benefitting both young people and the dealership itself, by ensuring the highest levels of expertise and product knowledge are maintained to service what is an increasingly sophisticated product.
Operating since 2015, the program has around 10 per cent of Westar’s 152 workforce employed as apprentices at any given time, with a yearly intake of around eight to ten. A high number of apprentices go on to permanent long term employment with the group.
An extended range of Certificate based apprenticeships are available including Heavy Commercial Vehicle, Trailer, Electrical and Air Conditioning Technology courses. In addition to the service oriented courses an Automotive Sales (Parts Interpreter) course is also offered.
Apprentices also have the opportunity to obtain specialist licenses in areas such as truck and forklift driving, dangerous goods handling and first aid.
Last year, Joshua Borninkhof, a first-year apprentice at Westar Derrimut was one of three outstanding apprentices who joined delegates at the Australian Trucking Association’s 2018 Technology and Maintenance Conference (TMC), thanks to scholarships from Cummins South Pacific. The scholarships are designed to recognise outstanding apprentices within the heavy vehicle industry. Joshua was selected having demonstrated a great understanding of his trade and having the proven technical skills to move on to bigger things.
In April 2019, Westar received confirmation that one of their apprentices had secured a spot to represent the Southern Region (VIC, TAS, SA) at the HVIA National Apprentice Challenge to be held at the forthcoming Brisbane truck show this week.
James Greig, from Westar Derrimut achieved a score of 123 out of 141 which earned him first place nationally. Also, Kai Lamont- an apprentice Auto Electrician also from Derrimut scored 120 out of 141 to place third nationally. There were a total of 70 apprentice entrants from across Australia.
“We’re extremely proud of what Josh and James have achieved,” said Anthony Long, Westar Dealer Principal. “It shows that the Westar apprenticeship program that we have been running for the last few years is really working well and paying dividends.
Whilst the majority of apprentices join straight after school, Westar actively encourages all age groups to apply.
“We take the view that’s it’s never too late to enter the heavy truck industry,” said Chris Fauvrelle, Technical Training Manager. “Jason Neto, a first year apprentice was 24 years old and had already completed a baker’s apprenticeship but then decided he had a passion for trucks. He took the chance to walk in off the street and we put him on as an apprentice.”