The business case brought forth by the Queensland Trucking Association to lower the Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship age to 17 has been approved by the Queensland Apprenticeship and Traineeship Office.
With Queensland being the first state to approve the apprenticeship in October 2022, the uptake has been hampered by the original commencement age which was set at 20 years old.
Feedback gathered from industry indicated that the age needed to be lowered to entice school leavers into the industry.
This extensive body of work was completed by Camilla Elmes who performs the role of QTA Industry Skills Advisor.
This position, along with the Industry Workforce Advisor position, is funded by the Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business and Training.
Gary Mahon, QTA Chief Executive Officer, hailed the development as excellent news for the future of the road freight industry.
“Being able to offer a heavy vehicle driver apprenticeship to school leavers is a great step towards securing the future professional driver workforce,” he said in a statement.
“We now need to secure Priority 1 funding for the HV Driver Apprenticeship which will provide employers with more of an incentive to take on driver apprentices. With driver shortages the number one issue in the sector, it is critical that it is changed to Priority 1 funding.”
Mahon said it would generate more confidence for employers to take on young people with the apprenticeship providing the essential development pathway to become a competent heavy vehicle driver.
“Although at this stage, the age based licencing progression will still apply, people coming out of an apprenticeship will be more appropriately skilled, have a Certificate III qualification as well as real industry experience,” said Mahon.