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Tamworth's Bree Gowland gets behind the wheel of a big rig in the TAFE NSW heavy vehicle driving simulator.
11 May, 2021
The regional trucking industry will see a boost in available drivers, thanks to a collaboration between TAFE NSW Tamworth and the Tamworth Transport Supply Chain Cluster.
Thirty potential and current heavy vehicle licence holders will undertake free safety training this week, using the TAFE NSW driving simulator which has been brought from Western Sydney for the course.
The training is part of a program to help local industries train potential employees in hard-to-fill skills areas.
Australian Industry Standards data shows the trucking industry is facing a nationwide shortage of heavy vehicle drivers, with more than 80 per cent of employers experiencing a skills shortage in 2018 and 2019.
TAFE NSW Business Development Account Manager Nicky Turner said the simulator provides realistic road scenarios designed to build drivers’ ability to safely negotiate hazards and poor conditions.
“This will provide potential drivers with the opportunity to train in high-quality equipment which they would usually be unable to access,” Ms Turner said.
“TAFE NSW is well placed to collaborate with industry to tailor training to business needs.”
Cluster coordinator Susan Sims said obtaining a heavy vehicle licence can cost around $1,500 in lessons, which many aspiring drivers can’t afford.
“There are three categories of heavy vehicle licence, ranging from heavy rigid to multi-combination,” Ms Sims said.
“The safety training provided in the TAFE NSW simulator will put drivers on the path to gaining their initial heavy rigid licence or transitioning to the next licence class. This is a great example of how local industry partnering with a training provider such as TAFE NSW can develop local solutions to meet specific needs.”
After completing their simulator training, the new drivers will also have opportunities for on-the-road experience with industry members of the Cluster. Cluster members own over 180 trucks, with more than 230 drivers and about 300 staff employed in the New England North West region.
For more information about heavy vehicle driver training at TAFE NSW, visit www.tafensw.edu.au or call 131 601.
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