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New programme aims to meet skilled driver shortage

Thursday 4 August 2011

New programme aims to meet skilled driver shortage

The transport industry is on the lookout for skilled drivers and UCOL is introducing a new programme to help meet that demand.

Dean of Trades and Technology Faculty, Kelly Gay, says the skills required of heavy duty drivers have never been more important. “Never before have trucks been so sophisticated and expensive, or operational costs so significant. Employers want people who know how to treat their gear, load vehicles and save fuel. I also think the public appreciate professional and safe drivers on the road, and that’s the foundation that our new qualification is designed to provide”

“Graduates of our new National Certificate in Goods Service will have all of those skills and many others, including an understanding of driving hazards and how to reduce risk. It also offers the option of studying either dangerous goods driving or forklift driving as part of the programme.”

The programme delivers a Level 2 Goods Service certificate: Kelly says it opens up immediate employment opportunities in the industry, including local delivering, warehousing and couriering. “It’s also the first step towards becoming Class 5 drivers who are even more in demand.”

Kelly says the new programme is a natural for Palmerston North, as a central distribution hub. Its introduction has been welcomed by the Chair of the Regional Transport Committee, Bruce Gordon, who congratulated UCOL on the launch of the Goods Services qualification. “Our region’s central location lends itself well as a hub from which goods are freighted around the country. We need a skilled workforce to support this and encourage the economic growth of the region.”

He says the programme will particularly appeal to people wanting new career paths with excellent job prospects, and who want more independence and flexible hours.

Programme Coordinator Dave Jenkins who “lived his dream” when he left his job as a draftsman to hit the road says: “I love driving – always have and I’d had enough of being penned up in an office. I wanted something more adventurous and challenging. With driving you have an ‘office’ where the scenery is always changing and you have a chance to meet a great range of people along the way. To me, driving is an awesome way to earn your living, in the Manawatu, in other parts of New Zealand and throughout the world.”

Dave now has 20 years’ experience as a driver and driver trainer in Australia, Britain, Europe and New Zealand, including driving tour buses and running a bus company out of Feilding.

Applications are open for the new UCOL programme which starts on 22 August.

ENDS

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