Hike funding

Women win with new funding for driver training

Attracting and training new people to the transport industry continues to be a major focus for the VTA, with labor shortages crippling operators and adding to an already strained supply chain.

Indeed, the transportation workforce crisis was one of the most discussed issues at our March state conference, with speakers and delegates coming together to find solutions to this growing problem. .

One of the strategies that the VTA has been advocating for some time is to look to cohorts that are traditionally not aligned with freight and logistics, but for no good reason.

Women – and in particular women over 45 – have been identified as a particular cohort to target, with many women looking for a second career or returning to the workforce after raising children.

So we were delighted to be able to kick off the conference on a very positive note, with Victorian Minister for Freight and Ports Melissa Horne joining us at Phillip Island to announce $3 million in funding to the VTA to train and place new workers into transport jobs.

The Freight Industry Jobseekers Training Project will create 125 jobs in the transport and logistics industry, providing sustainable training and a pathway to employment into vehicle driving positions trucks, forklift driving and storage.

Under the programme, priority groups such as women, women over 45 and older participants will undergo training and be offered employment for at least 12 months at the start of the project.

The project will increase the reach of the industry by securing qualified employees to fill existing labor shortages and ensuring it is well positioned for the growing task of freight.

This funding and new transport jobs will go a long way to addressing labor shortages faced by operators, and is of course consistent with our efforts to increase participation rates of women in the transport industry.

Building on the success of the VTA Driver Delivery program, which has trained and placed over 200 new drivers into long-term, well-paying jobs in transport, the program will make a significant contribution to the growth of our workforce. and reducing pressure on desperate operators. to help.

We acknowledge and thank the Victorian Government for continuing to listen and respond to the needs of the freight industry across a myriad of issues facing transport operators.

The state conference was a great opportunity to discuss many of these issues, with a particular focus on the impact of rising fuel costs and interest rates – coupled with labor shortages. work – on operators.

The message from the speakers, from various backgrounds, was clear and is that which the VTA has been expressing for many months, namely that operators cannot ignore the rising costs within their businesses.

Former Federal Deputy Minister of Freight Transportation Scott Buchholz was particularly blunt, warning operators at the conference who did not act on these rising costs that they would likely go bankrupt within a year.

Inflationary pressures are expected to be felt across the economy in the coming months, with the Reserve Bank tasked with trying to contain inflation with the economic levers at its disposal.

Rising interest rates will inevitably be one of these levers, which will lead to higher costs for everyone.

The challenge for operators will be to incorporate these increases into their cost models, so that customers and ultimately consumers are also exposed to higher prices.

The VTA maintains numerous fuel price resources to help members understand how price fluctuations could impact their business.

These elements can help operators create cost models that accurately predict how their business will be affected by price fluctuations and what needs to change in their pricing to deal with them.

This is an advantage reserved for VTA members, and I invite you to contact our secretariat on 03 9646 8590 to find out how to access it.

Let’s continue to work together over the coming months to devise strategies and tactics to build the resilience of our industry.

We have done admirably during COVID to feed and refuel Australians, and now is not the time to take your foot off the accelerator with some of the headwinds we face.

Peter Anderson