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Training the truckies of tomorrow

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FORGET the image of a middle-aged, poorly-educated guy in a singlet top as the average truckie - it is changing to well-educated young adults including women earning as much as a lawyer.

However, there are not enough of them to fill an expanding demand for skilled truckies to steer the expensive rigs plying our roads.

It is estimated that within two years there could be about 250 vacancies for truck drivers in the south-west and 3000 across Victoria.

The region's huge growth potential in energy production, forestry, dairying and exports could be hamstrung by the driver shortage, state minister Richard Dalla-Riva told a Warrnambool conference yesterday.

"Without the right people and the right skills, business opportunities may be lost and that would have serious consequences for our standard of living," he said.

"The Great South Coast has seen the warning signals and recognised the need to plan and build a strong skills base to lock in the region's economic development."

As Employment and Industrial Relations Minister Mr Dalla-Riva officially launched a south-west road transport recruitment strategy that includes a work experience program to attract young people to the sector.

It will involve the transport industry and educators.


Three major south-west transport operators have helped pay for production of a special DVD film aimed at luring more young drivers into the industry.

A website and social media will be incorporated into the promotion to spread the message interstate and globally.

The work experience segment will start later in the year linking schools, registered training organisations and transport companies.

These new initiatives stem from a recent Great South Coast industry workforce strategy using $250,000 in state funds to look at skilled labour needs for the dairy, timber and food processing industries.

Imminent retirement of many of the region's skilled transport drivers is seen as a major challenge.

Source: The Standard

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