The shortage of professional drivers is a worldwide problem and New Zealand is not immune, with some estimates that the country needs thousands of new drivers. And it is not just drivers, it is also people working in logistics and support roles. An aging workforce compounds the problem.

However, New Zealand’s road transport industry is making good progress to encourage more people to join by undertaking professional qualifications. Te ara ki tua Road to success is an initiative set up in 2021 by three organisations: Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand, National Road Carriers, and the NZ Trucking Association.

Late last year, Road to success set itself “the big hairy audacious goal” of 1000 enrolments in tertiary qualifications by the end of 2023.

“Work over the last couple of years, has seen the Road to success tertiary qualifications pathway gain more momentum than ever,” says Fiona McDonagh from Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand. “The road transport industry is an exciting place to work – especially with new technology changing the way people work. These tertiary qualifications are bringing the industry up-to-date and putting it on a more professional footing. It has also become far more diverse, and is attracting many more women into what was once very much a male-dominated industry.

“The sooner we get this tertiary qualification pathway commonly recognised as the go-to path that truck drivers take as a matter of course – which is not too dissimilar to the approach taken in other sectors with apprenticeships – the more our sector will benefit in the long run.”

McDonagh attributes the success of the programme so far to good buy-in from road transport companies. “The leadership they have shown, particularly in innovating and changing their approach, make it easier to nurture new to industry drivers or give their current driver an opportunity to gain a fit-for-purpose industry qualification.”

Road to success offers two options: The traineeship provides the pathway for new to industry drivers, as well as supporting those operators who are already training and developing new drivers, giving them the tertiary qualification framework to complement the training in-cab already being given. The Boost programme provides an opportunity for more established drivers to gain a tertiary qualification and promotes continuous learning.

For more information contact:
Fiona McDonagh, Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand:
027 471 4350 or 04 472 3877 or email

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.