Break­ing down the bar­ri­ers

For Joshua Pyke, truck­ing is the dream job and one he’s fight­ing for – a true pas­sion passed down through the gen­er­a­tions. Cobey Bar­tels writes

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“TRUCK DRIV­ING should be an ap­pren­tice­ship,” says 18-year-old Joshua Pyke as he talks about how tough it’s been to break into the in­dus­try af­ter fin­ish­ing school in West­ern Victoria.

Josh’s heart pumps diesel, thanks to a life around trucks and a gen­uine ap­pre­ci­a­tion for his rel­a­tives and role mod­els who in­tro­duced him to the in­dus­try.

“I come from a fam­ily which has based its name around trucks,” he says. “My pop was a truck driver who drove for over 50 years and raised his fam­ily around them.

“The love for trucks has flowed through the gen­er­a­tions with pop, two of his sons Michael and Stephen and then to me.

“Michael has been driv­ing for more than 20 years now, and Steven was in trucks even ear­lier but sadly passed away be­hind the wheel.”

Joshua’s pas­sion stems from fond mem­o­ries in his un­cle’s truck, learn­ing what he could and get­ting a feel for the life­style.

“I have been trav­el­ling in­ter­state and lo­cally with my un­cle for eight years, ob­serv­ing and learn­ing the ba­sics of the truck driv­ing life­style, and it’s grown on me quite a bit.

“I have re­alised it is a ca­reer I would love to pur­sue as I en­joy it and it’s a pas­sion of mine.”

The stark re­al­ity for Joshua, how­ever, is that af­ter fin­ish­ing year 12, he’s re­al­is­ing the dif­fi­culty of catch­ing a break as a truckie when you’re young.

De­spite re­ceiv­ing a promis­ing univer­sity of­fer, Joshua de­cided truck driv­ing is a dream worth fight­ing for, prompt­ing him to de­fer and take on a labour­ing job while he saves for his HR li­cence.

“I have looked around and have seen ads for com­pa­nies need­ing driv­ers and one thing they all have in com­mon is they want driv­ers with two or more years’ ex­pe­ri­ence min­i­mum be­hind the wheel,” he says.

“I do agree in a way with how dif­fi­cult the job is, but how are we meant to ac­com­mo­date for a short­age of truck driv­ers? How are we go­ing to in­tro­duce peo­ple into the driv­ing sec­tor of the trans­port in­dus­try?”

Joshua thinks the so­lu­tion might be an ap­pren­tice­ship for as­pir­ing truck­ies, and it’s a sen­ti­ment com­monly ut­tered through­out the in­dus­try.

“Driv­ers need to learn how to op­er­ate the truck in dif­fer­ent sit­u­a­tions, op­er­ate fork­lifts, learn how to load and learn dif­fer­ent re­straints needed for va­ri­ety freight – this takes years of ex­pe­ri­ence and prac­tice.

“What does this mean for a per­son like me who wants to drive trucks?” Joshua pon­ders.

“I think this would be much eas­ier through ap­pren­tice­ships or trainee­ships, be­cause it would have more struc­ture for peo­ple want­ing to learn and work in the trans­port in­dus­try, and could pos­si­bly be more ap­peal­ing to young peo­ple like me want­ing to en­ter this in­dus­try.”

Flash­back: Joshua stands proudly be­side the Mack his un­cle drives for Stawell Freighters

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