Team work makes the dream work

Team work makes the dream work

Collaboration is a bit of a buzz word, bandied around all too frequently. But I want to tell you a story about genuine collaboration between our industry and government.

Yesterday, we launched our Te ara ki tua Road to success industry traineeship in Auckland. We were fortunate to be joined by Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Transport and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood, who both spoke about how great it was to see the various parts of government they are responsible for coming together to get a traineeship off the ground in an industry they support and see value in.

This traineeship is about providing a career path for people who want to work in road freight transport – as drivers primarily – but also in the other skilled roles the industry offers. Truck driving is a challenging and varied job, with lots of skills required. The contribution a good truck driver makes to a business and to the wider New Zealand economy and wellbeing is immense, as we saw during the Covid-19 lockdowns as trucks kept rolling while most of us were safe at home.

There is often a view that young people need to change to fit something. We are taking the opposite view. The industry must change to fit the desires of a modern workforce. That means qualifications, structure, on-the-job training, and license progression, as we are very short of Class 5 drivers. The challenge is that many businesses don’t have anything other than Class 5 vehicles, so it is harder to train, but not impossible if people work together. I wish to emphasise that it is very much about the industry taking the lead and finding solutions to its own challenges.

But we have needed help to do that. We have known for a long time there was a truck driver shortage and with increased demand for road freight and an ageing workforce, we need to focus on training the next generations to come and keeping them engaged and excited about the industry.

Sometimes, when you go to the government for help, it can be a demoralising experience. But not in the case of this traineeship. We were able to work across different parts of government and get everyone on the same page and enthusiastic about the opportunities this traineeship will offer.

And we were able to do it in a year – the year that the world stood still to combat Covid-19.

The Tertiary Education Commission and MITO have enabled us to offer industry specific micro-credentials for trainees to get formal qualifications. Training is a mix of practical and theoretical components. MITO have also waived fees for the micro-credentials – which are completed on line – until 31 December 2021.

The industry partnerships team at the Ministry of Social Development (MSD)  have been hugely influential in assisting the RTF through this process, along with their Kiwi Can Do team who get people work-ready. We will continue working with MSD to place registered job seekers and those affected by Covid-19 job losses in traineeships with road transport operators.

Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency have shown a strong interest in the programme and support for our concept of training drivers to be better and safer on the road. That is a goal we share.

On the other side, we need industry to take up what we are offering them – motivated workers keen to get out there on the road and keep delivering for New Zealand.

Showing tremendous leadership, Chris Carr and the Carr & Haslam team are in step with us. They have taken on three trainees via MSD – all who went through the Kiwi Can Do programme.  Betty Heremaia Sola, Liana Manu and Shaun Tomai are able to work and earn money while they go about their training, and they are already valued by Carr & Haslam.

Carr & Haslam hosted the launch event yesterday with Ministers, government officials, industry and media all attending, and as the final speaker, Chris Carr threw down the gauntlet to other transport operators to follow his example.

– Nick Leggett, CEO, Road Transport Forum

Truck driver traineeship launched

Truck driver traineeship launched

Thursday, 29 April 2021

Today, Social Development and Employment Minister Carmel Sepuloni and Transport and Workplace Relations and Safety Minister Michael Wood joined the Road Transport Forum to launch a traineeship dedicated to the road transport industry – Te ara ki tua Road to success.

“On the back of research that we conducted last year, trucking operators clearly identified a shortage of drivers being a problem for their businesses,” Road Transport Forum (RTF) chief executive Nick Leggett says.

“We believe in industry solving its own problems where possible, so we decided the time was right for a dedicated truck driver traineeship, run by the RTF for the industry we represent.

“Trucking has an ageing workforce and we want to bring a new and diverse range of people into the road freight transport industry. We want trainees to be clear on a career path and to be rewarded for their successes.

“We believe that over time, this training will ensure a higher skilled and safer workforce, leading to safer roads.”

Training is a mix of practical and theoretical components, designed to lead directly to qualifications relevant to the industry. These are in the form of micro-credential qualifications completed online and delivered through MITO.

“This traineeship allows people to work and earn money while they go about their training,” Leggett says.

The traineeship has its own branding and website and has two staff members administering it on behalf of employers and trainees, employed by the RTF, Trainees are on the programme for one year, after which it is expected the trainee will continue on at the company they trained with.

“Getting the programme off the ground in the quick timeframe of a year would not have been possible without government assistance and backing,” Leggett says. “In particular, the Tertiary Education Commission and MITO have come to the party in getting the micro-credentials available and waiving fees until 31 December 2021.

“RTF is also working with the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) on placing registered job seekers and those affected by Covid-19 with road transport operators. In fact, we are holding the launch event at Carr & Haslam in Auckland which has employed three Te ara ki tua Road to success trainees via MSD’s Kiwi Can Do programme.”

Chris Carr, from Carr & Haslam, says road transport is an essential service in New Zealand, “and it is essential that we attract good people to deliver the goods we all need”.

“Even in these early days of the traineeship we have had three keen and motivated drivers join us,” Carr says. “It is a new way of doing something about our driver shortage that we should have done years ago and I commend the RTF for establishing this traineeship.”

About Road Transport Forum New Zealand (RTF)

RTF provides unified national representation for several regional trucking associations. RTF members include Road Transport Association NZ, National Road Carriers, and NZ Trucking Association.  The affiliated representation of the RTF is about 3,000 individual road transport companies which in turn, operate 16-18,000 trucks involved in road freight transport, as well as companies that provide services allied to road freight transport.

The road freight transport industry employs 32,868 people (2.0% of the workforce), has a gross annual turnover of $6 billion, and transports 93% of the total tonnes of freight moved in New Zealand.

Driving diversity in trucking

Driving diversity in trucking

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand (Transporting New Zealand) and Teletrac Navman are bringing a ground-breaking initiative to the road transport industry in New Zealand to drive diversity

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand (Transporting New Zealand) and Teletrac Navman are bringing a ground-breaking initiative to the road transport industry in New Zealand to drive diversity.

The 2022 Driving Change Diversity Programme will develop a group of diversity champions, nominated from within the transport industry, teaching them how to create change and facilitate diversity in their workplace and community. It is based on a similar successful programme run by the Australian Trucking Association (ATA) across the Tasman.

Falling under the banner of Transporting New Zealand’s Te ara ki tua Road to success traineeship, it will be the first trans-Tasman programme of its kind in the industry, focused on tackling the challenge of attracting talent to the industry by making it more inclusive.

“With the support of Teletrac Navman, the 2022 Driving Change Diversity Programme will showcase diversity champions to the New Zealand trucking industry and wider community, and help promote a positive view of the careers available in road freight transport to encourage more people into the sector’s workforce,” says Transporting New Zealand chief executive Nick Leggett.

Participants in the 2022 Teletrac Navman Driving Change Diversity Programme will be provided professional development coaching to become mentors, be supported to become spokespeople for diversity and inclusion in the industry, and develop a strong professional network with like-minded individuals.

“There’s no doubt our industry will benefit from this. There have long been concerns about driver shortages, so we need to create an environment where both local and overseas drivers feel welcome,” Leggett says.

“Diversity in the workplace has proven benefits such as increased productivity, access to a greater talent pool, competitive advantages, and the development of more inclusive, attractive workplaces. There are many opportunities available to people with an interest in road transport, logistics, and heavy-vehicle mechanics,” Leggett says.

Transporting New Zealand says that the trucking industry is vital to New Zealand’s productivity and economic growth, with trucks transporting 93 percent of New Zealand’s freight.

Teletrac Navman Marketing Director Megan Duncan says, “During the two years that the programme has been running in Australia, we’ve seen positive changes in the transport industry. Interest in the programme is increasing and the participants are creating a strong diverse network of people who will help shape the future of the industry. We’re looking forward to bringing New Zealand into the programme in 2022 and growing diversity in the sector on both sides of the Tasman.”

ATA Chair David Smith says the programme had received overwhelming support from industry members since its Australian launch.

“We are so thrilled to welcome our New Zealand counterparts to the programme. They are demonstrating the leadership and innovative thinking that is crucial to building a viable and sustainable industry,” Smith says.

Nominations for the Teletrac Navman Driving Change Diversity Programme can be made from 20 April until 3 June, 2022. Participants must be involved as an owner or employee in a trucking business in New Zealand.

The programme will kick off at a workshop in September and participants will attend the Transporting New Zealand Conference in Invercargill.

For more information on how to participate contact Fiona McDonagh at Transporting New Zealand,


About Teletrac Navman

Teletrac Navman is a global, market-leading software-as-a-service (SaaS) provider leveraging AI and machine learning to drive next-generation mobile asset and fleet management. Powered by AI to turn real-time data into decisions, Teletrac Navman’s specialised solutions deliver businesses with simplified, smart, predictive and actionable insights to help enhance productivity and profitability. Its fleet and asset management technology uncovers and simplifies information that would otherwise go unseen, helping customers reduce risk and confidently move their business forward with certainty. It tracks and manages more than 550,000 vehicles and assets around the world. The company is headquartered in Orange County, CA, with additional offices in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand and Mexico. For more information

About Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand

Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand (Transporting New Zealand) provides unified national representation for the trucking industry, that is, about 1,200 individual road freight transport companies, which operate about 14,000 heavy trucks delivering for New Zealand. The road freight transport industry employs 32,868 people (2.0% of the workforce), has a gross annual turnover of $6 billion, and transports 93% of the total tonnes of freight moved in New Zealand. For more information

About Australian Trucking Association

The Australian Trucking Association is a united voice and forum for its members on trucking issues of national importance. The ATA’s vision is to deliver what people need in a safe, progressive and viable way. For more information

Media contacts:

Rachael Joel for Teletrac Navman 021 403 504

Nick Leggett for Transporting New Zealand 021 248 2175

John MacDonald (KAM Transport)

John MacDonald (KAM Transport)

When John MacDonald was made redundant from a senior position at NZ Post, he decided to use the money he got to upskill and take up a career driving trucks.

“It was time to do something different and this offers plenty of work, variety, something different every day and challenges and problems to solve.
“You travel through New Zealand’s beautiful countryside and you can earn good money if you are interested.”
John has been a truck driver for five years and has worked through to a Class 5 licence. He drives line haul (the longer distances) for KAM Transport.
“There’s a bit of banter on the road and you meet a lot of good people. You get put up in a hotel and fed and it’s a good life.”
John says people in the trucking industry are open and willing to help and educate you along the way and he doesn’t regret his decision to do something

Read more

Gemma O’Brien (Debz Transport)

Gemma O’Brien (Debz Transport)

Kotuku Coombe (KAM Transport)

Kotuku Coombe (KAM Transport)

At 2am one morning Kotuku Coombe stood on a cross road – down one road was opportunity and down the other was a life of trouble and no direction.

“I went to jail just before my 21 st birthday. When I was in there, I knew I would never go back, but I just didn’t know where to start until someone gave me a chance.
“Someone from KAM Transport rung my mum one day and asked if one of her sons would be good at heavy lifting. I wanted a job, but then she said I had to be at the gates of Taylor Preston (meat processors) at 2am! I said ok and I’ve never looked back.”
It was Kotuku’s first job and he started as a driver’s assistant, helping load the heavy meat carcasses. He didn’t even have a driver licence, but he’d grown up around trucks and was keen to become a driver.
Five years on, aged 29, he has a Class 4 licence and he’s the driver. He still starts at 2am and transports meat for butchers and supermarkets and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“If you get the opportunity take it. This has been a life changing experience for me. The other drivers teach you – but ask questions, it’s all free knowledge.”

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