Boost in funding for Commercial Road Transport

News News & events

27 May 2020

Ara Institute of Canterbury is helping local business get on the move with courses designed to train skilled transport and logistics workers.

Modern commercial road transport operations in New Zealand involve so much more than loading and driving a truck – with modern technology and a huge increase in delivery operations, a sophisticated global logistics system now exists; one which requires qualified people using specialised, often high-tech, equipment to appropriately and safely dispatch, handle and deliver all types of goods.

Naturally a growing industry of this kind offers qualified people a wide range of opportunities, including within storage and dispatch operations, sales and marketing departments, vehicle service and maintenance teams,  and passenger service, health and safety and management.

With all of this in mind, the Commercial Road Transport (Heavy Vehicle Operator) certificate was established by important industry stakeholders including many of South Canterbury's transport and logistics industry operators, and it’s facilitated by local economic development agency Aoraki Development. The first two 30-week courses, delivered in 2019, produced 13 graduates, and is now midway through its third intake, made up of nine students from a variety of backgrounds.

This year, the South Canterbury region has received a welcome $600,000 boost from the Government, and now has sufficient funding to ensure the training of 60 more individuals, giving career-changers entre into one of Canterbury's largest industry sectors.

Leonie Rasmussen, Manager of Ara’s Southern Campus, says that the course is “designed to give students the industry-specific skills and knowledge that the modern transport industry needs.” She acknowledges the importance of working closely with local industry, noting that Ara was engaged by the industry-led and representative South Canterbury Transport and Logistics panel, which worked closely with Ara and other industry leaders to develop the content of the course. Almost 30 transport and logistics businesses, both large and small, in South and Mid Canterbury have been involved in the creation of course.

As with many Ara courses, the emphasis is firmly on work-integrated learning, with students gaining practical driving experience, loading and unloading skills, an understanding of route planning and of heavy vehicle systems, components, dynamics and handling, as well as customer service and communication skills, compliance requirements and health and safety comprehension.

Ms. Rasmussen notes that this collaborative approach is one that aims to get students employed by organizations that are having their needs understood and met. “The program is substantially supported by local businesses and it is their commitment to their industry and the level of access they provide students to real-world working conditions that makes the programme unique and successful” she says.

Brett King, South Canterbury Transport and Logistics Panel chairperson, likewise agrees that the course, run out of Ara’s Timaru campus, was clearly recognized as important to the region - a fact underlined by the scale of the funding, which enlarges upon existing commercial road transport training initiatives set up by Government.

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