Academy to put transport in fast lane to development

THE Victorian Transport Association officially launched the VTA Academy on March 6 at Crown Casino with more than 150 guests from government and industry celebrating the launch of a fresh approach to training and labour solutions for the transport and logistics industry in Victoria.

VTA deputy CEO Neil Chambers highlighted the fact competition for workers was high for Australian industries and the transport and logistics workforce is rapidly aging.

"Transport and logistics activities account for close to 15% of economic activity in Australia, and most industries rely on transport and logistics to underpin their own productivity and viability," he said.

"Sure, we deal with heavy vehicles - there are more than 600,000 heavy freight vehicles registered in Australia - as well as ships, airplanes, trains and large warehouse capacities. But in the end of the day, the transport and logistics industry is a people business operating in a complex and demanding operational environment. Having the right skilled staff, in the right place, at the right time is a constant challenge for the industry.

"The aging of the industry's workforce is of concern. For instance, the average age of truck drivers is 45 years' plus (and older in sectors such as linehaul), with almost half of existing truck drivers forecast to be at retirement age by 2026.

"We've got to grow the pool of skilled labour available to meet not only the levels of staff attrition facing us, but to meet the growth demand from the increasing freight task."

He said the academy is designed to implement labour and training programs to help facilitate this required market and labour growth, while delivering the right skills sets.

The Victorian Minister for Higher Education and Skills Peter Hall launched the Academy officially. Mr Hall said the VTA Academy "is an outstanding example of what can be achieved when industry plays a lead role in expanding its workforce skills base".

The academy will create a supply of skilled staff, attraction and retention, accredited workplace training, targeted short courses, flexible delivery are all key said Mint Group CEO Tony Fritsche.

"We will work with companies to assess their needs and map a process to solving their skills and workforce challenges."

To find out more about the VTA Academy, visit vtaacademy.com.au or phone Kevin Halpin, VTA Academy general manager on 0412 684 260.

"We've got to grow the pool of skilled labour available to meet not only the levels of staff attrition facing us, but to meet the growth demand from the increasing freight task."

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