Short­age or a failed sys­tem?

Big Rigs - - COLUMN - WA CAM­PAIGNER CAM DUMESNY West­ern Roads Fed­er­a­tion CEO

THE news looks good, West­ern Aus­tralia is grow­ing again, job ads are up, new projects, big har­vest fore­cast, but...

No skilled peo­ple, from me­chan­ics to driv­ers.

The min­ing in­dus­try, the con­struc­tion in­dus­try, even we are all say­ing we have a trades, driver and labour skills short­age.

Yet ev­ery day I have peo­ple ring me and say I got a li­cence but no ex­pe­ri­ence. No one will hire me. I am just go­ing to give you four quick sto­ries, and let you de­cide what the prob­lem is.

The Pool Room

I grew up in a house and with a dad that was a close to Dar­ryl Ker­ri­gan and his Cas­tle as you could get.

We even had the fake wood panel pool room, an ex­ten­sion Dad built him­self, nat­u­rally with­out any build­ing per­mits.

It was a bril­liant pool room, per­fectly built for a six-by-three pool ta­ble.

How­ever a mate of a mate of a mate had a bar­gain on an eight by four, so that’s what went in the room.

So games of pool at our house ended up adding the ex­tra di­men­sion of body con­tor­tions to make shots.

OK so where am I go­ing with this? Well, in the pool room proudly hung Dad’s A-Grade Me­chan­ics cer­tifi­cate. He was proud of it and so we were.

He earnt it, he went to night school, worked dur­ing the day and even ex­tra jobs on the week­ends to put him­self through and keep us fed and happy.

The Bin

A while back, we were talk­ing with a truck driver and some­thing came up about qual­i­fi­ca­tions.

He said, “Yeah, I got some bit of pa­per, it’s some cer­tifi­cate or other, some bloke sat in the cab with me for a cou­ple of hours and asked me a cou­ple of questions and I got this cer­tifi­cate.”

We think it was a Reg­is­tered Train­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion is­sued Cer­tifi­cate for Driv­ing Ops.

We think, be­cause the driver had no idea where it was and re­ally didn’t care.

He thought it may have even been in the bin.

The Pad­dock

Like most of us closer to re­tire­ment than high school, I learnt to drive in the pad­docks with my un­cles or around the truck yard as a kid when Dad was ser­vic­ing the trucks.

“Go back that truck up over there.” Off you would go, only to be told that was “----ing aw­ful – do it again”. And on it would go over the years be­fore I turned 18, as the un­cles or Dad would tell you do it again and do it prop­erly this time.

How­ever one day, they looked at the way I did it, and said be­grudg­ingly, “Yeah, not bad”.

And with that you knew you had grad­u­ated from the pad­dock. Im­por­tantly, they trusted you to do the job.

1940 Bri­tain

Dur­ing the Bat­tle of Bri­tain, many new pi­lots had as lit­tle as 10 hours fly­ing time be­fore they were sent in to bat­tle.

De­spite their courage, these in­ex­pe­ri­enced and ill trained pi­lots suf­fered the high­est ca­su­al­ties and also caused the most dam­age to planes dur­ing land­ing.

The Questions

How long does it take to get say, a HR truck driv­ing li­cence? When you get it, does that make you a truck driver? Is the per­son with the HR truck li­cence, job ready and safe, proud of what they have achieved and have earnt re­spect for hav­ing com­pleted it?

So is it a skills short­age or just a failed train­ing sys­tem?

PHOTO: KIRSTIN PAYNE

THE QUES­TION: Cam Dumesny poses the ques­tion – is it a skills short­age or a failed sys­tem?

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