INDUSTRY insiders have talked for years about training shortcuts and a troubling driver skill gap posing safety concerns on our roads.
The recent 457 visa debate lifted the lid on licenced truckies unable to reverse the required 60m for the MC licence or unhook trailers, in particular the Sydney driver who got stuck before a bridge.
Big Rigs investigated the case and found that the driver was not on a 457 visa, but was here on another type of visa.
Minister for Immigration and Border Protection Peter Dutton said at the time, only about 10 people in total are in Australia on 457 visas to work as truck drivers
Despite this, the skills gap is an alarming issue, whether we are talking about drivers on visas or here as citizens.
Managing director of Ticket Training Solutions Steve Walters says the sub-standard training has been a concern of his for a long time and he makes mention of Brisbane-based companies he knows are cutting corners.
“The prices quoted by some of the companies out there are not realistic or sustainable to provide all relevant requirements to satisfy ASQA or Qld Transport and Main Roads.
“I’m getting out of the industry because we cannot compete with people coming into the industry as driver trainers who use cheap trucks and offer cheap courses,” Steve said.
Steve has been an accredited driver trainer for more than 10 years and owns all his own vehicles for training and cartage of general freight.
“As far as the standard goes, training schools use 19-metre pocket B-double combinations, whereas I use 26 metre B-doubles and road train AB-triples to give the best exposure and experience. There are only a handful of guys in Qld using the right trucks,” he said.
Ticket Training Solutions believe training drivers on a manual non-syncromesh gearbox creates a driver who is more aware and engaged on the road.
“It’s all about planning – what gear do I need, do I have the room to slow down – you can’t just stab the brake,” he said.
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