Qualified heavy vehicle operators are in short supply throughout New Zealand. To help address the problem, Ara got together with transport operators in South Canterbury to create a solution.
The result is a training programme called the New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Road Transport (Heavy Vehicle Operator), which is designed to equip individuals with the knowledge and practical skills needed in the industry. Local operators are heavily involved in the delivery of the programme, ensuring that students get lots of hands-on experience in real workplaces and connect with potential employers.
Michele Bassingthwaighte was working as an aluminium fabricator when he learned of the shortage of heavy vehicle operators. “With the serious shortage of drivers it made sense for me to go for it,” he says. “I chose to learn at Ara because they had the foresight to be part of the solution by helping create this course.”
Michele says the programme gave him a great all-round grounding, taught him how to do things correctly and showed him what companies expect. “You get a full range of experiences that prepare you well for your future job. And you get to drive a variety of different trucks like milk tankers. A highlight was getting into the crane at the wharf and unloading containers off a ship.”
Michele says the tutors were very helpful and professional and made the course interesting. “Ara staff are great and they bend over backwards to help you.”
His advice to anyone thinking of doing the road transport certificate? “Just do it. Be positive, give things a go and don’t be afraid to ask questions.”
Now having completed the programme, Michele is keen to work for Fonterra and says he wants to “drive until I retire”.