In the same way the real estate agent will talk about location, location, location, anyone talking about the best future for the trucking industry has to talk about training, training, training. The industry needs to progress, but the workforce is getting older and the supply of bright young talent is dwindling.
Why is the supply dwindling and why are experienced workers leaving the industry? It’s because it’s not an attractive industry to work in. The best candidates do not put their hand up to join the trucking industry’s workforce. Many in the industry expend a considerable amount of energy trying to get out of the game, quite often making several attempts.
One of the major disadvantages to working in the industry is a lack of recognition of the individual’s skills and experience. Qualifications also mean it is possible to get skilled and move up the pay scale.
There are myriad reasons why trucking people do not have qualifications and why employers do not expect potential employees to have them. The exception being the tickets needed to work on fork lifts, with dangerous goods, carting fuel etc, etc.
Recognition of skills would work on several levels. One is the satisfaction of the employee, being told you have reached a certain standard and are qualified to handle a particular task, can be very satisfying.
Training isn’t unheard of in the trucking industry, but it is definitely not ubiquitous. Work for a big operator, a national company and there will be opportunities to get some training and have a piece of paper proving you know what you’re doing.
The reality is most people work for smaller companies, organisations which have little time or funding to educate their workforce. Many smaller operators don’t believe in training full stop. They get an employee and get them up to speed with the job in hand and hope to keep hold of them once they are proficient. Help an employee to get some form of qualification and they have something which will help them get another job.
The Australian trucking industry is getting to the point when it will not be possible to function properly as an operation without properly trained employees. The job is becoming ever more complex and sophisticated. The equipment we are using is also much more sophisticated and will only function productivity if used properly.
Probably more important, from the point of view of the employer, is the ever more complex legal environment in which transport companies operate. It is vital everyone in your team knows how to do the right thing and can demonstrate a competence to do the right thing.
Aspects of the chain of responsibility rules, make it imperative to have a properly skilled and trained operative on a task. If an operation cannot demonstrate it is using a team who are well equipped and trained to ensure the safety of a load and the safety of those travelling around it may be liable if something goes awry.
What’s wrong with being part of a more professional industry? Why can’t we reward those who do a good job with acknowledgement of their skills and pay them accordingly? The art of throwing people in the deep end and hoping they can swim, which pertained when I joined the industry, just does not cut it in this modern litigious world.