NSW carrier, JATEC Transport, has launched a scholarship program to bolster its driver talent pool.
The program, launched earlier in the month, is expected to bring a range of benefits to the business as it navigates the challenges of the current labour market.
Finding new, innovative ways to attract quality drivers was a prerogative according to Caitlin Barlow, JATEC Transport Business Development Manager.
“For a while we have been discussing a feeder program where we can bring HR drivers into the business and train them the JATEC way,” she said.
“This means they are competent in driving, customer service, chain of responsibility requirements, legislation and fatigue management,” said Barlow.
It was the perfect time to launch with a Volvo FH99 rigid now available in the fleet.
Successful applicants will start in the rigid truck where they will gain experience and knowledge in JATEC operations and expectations before the company invests in their upgrade to heavier applications.
Conditions of entry to the program include a minimum of 12 months Heavy Rigid experience, and the ability to drive a synchro gearbox.
JATEC intends for drivers to spend around two months in the rigid to complete a comprehensive training program before they are enrolled into a driving school to upgrade their licence to Heavy Combination.
“By having a shorter induction period we hope to provide this opportunity to multiple applicants as candidates progress,” said Barlow.
Applications are now open with range of people having already applied according to Barlow.
At present there is no baseline of driver numbers in place.
As the business grows operations the expectation, at this early stage, is that it will be able to continue the program indefinitely.
“The transport Industry is ageing, we are acutely aware of this, and so we hope to attract young people through the program,” said Barlow, who recently was awarded the Emerging Leader by the Road Freight NSW.
“We are looking to contribute to the longevity of the industry. In saying this, if there are applicants outside this demographic who are overtly interested in the program and looking to join the team, we are open to everyone,” she said.
“JATEC Transport is always willing to give anyone with the right attitude a go.”
Barlow, over the past 12 months, has assisted Transport Women Australia Limited in their career initiatives in NSW.
One of the initiatives has been the EDGE Program, which helps young people enter the workforce with confidence through online courses and interactive workshops.
As the Transport Industry representative Barlow has attended workshops and spoken with students about considering the transport industry as a career.
This work, which caught the attention of RFNSW, has involved visiting high school career days and markets to raise awareness about the transport industry and point high school students in the right direction should they be interested.
“Whether this be driving, heavy mechanic, insurance, sales etc I am able to recommend pathways and put them in touch with potential employers,” she said.
Barlow said the acknowledgment she received from the RFNSW conference and Emerging Leader award is a definite career highlight for her.
“It was gratifying to be nominated by Transport Women Australia Limited for my contribution, and to then win the award I was ecstatic,” she said.
“It was a proud moment to represent TWAL. The achievement was made even more special by having my parents there, and that’s the beauty of being in a family business.”