LBRCA salutes new breed of drivers
THE LIVESTOCK, Bulk and Rural Carriers Association’s (LBRCA) Young Driver of the Year finalists have been announced for 2017, showcasing a mix of dedicated young talent from across the trucking industry.
Owner//Driver spoke to LBRCA and founder of the Young Driver of the Year competition Lynley Miners, who says he kicked the award off to create enthusiasm, positive industry news and encouragement for the next generation of truck drivers.
“The average age of the driver in this industry is old so it’s about encouraging our profession as a career choice for young people and addressing a shortage of drivers out there,” he says. “It’s hard if you’re a young bloke to get a start these days in a big truck.
“It really helps getting positive news out there and letting people know there are some good young fellas out there.
“This award is about encouraging employers to give young people a go,” he adds.
Miners explains that the finalists are chosen based on driving record, employer feedback, their attitude and overall skillset.
Nominees are then interviewed by a panel of judges, before finalists are decided upon.
The award is also about acknowledging how hard the livestock truckies work, and the varied nature of the work.
“A lot of these operators just don’t get the recognition they deserve, especially in livestock – you’re talking guys with convertible crates that go between sheep and cattle and that’s tough.
“All the things that go with it like animal welfare, on-road enforcement; they’ve got a lot to deal with – without the young ones coming through, we don’t have an industry.”
The winner will be announced at this year’s annual LBRCA Conference in Dubbo from March 31 to April 1. The winner gets a trip to the United States to the value of $5000, giving the young driver a chance to see how it’s done outside of Australia.
“We organise a tour with one of the factories over there and we like them to have a look at the industry there, too,” Miners says. “Last year’s winner, Jeremy Horne, was a bulk operator and he wanted to look at one of the truck shows in the South, as well as receiving a tour of the Peterbilt factory.”
When asked how the award has benefitted the industry, Miners explained that it’s helped to promote transport as a career option and provided the example of two young men working for his own transport operation.
“We’ve had very good feedback – our members and all the other people involved are right behind it.
“I’ve got a couple of young guys working for me now, and they’re earning about six figures each a year, so there’s career opportunity as well as lifestyle.
“We’re off the beaten track, so we get to see the country.
“You’re generally not on the same road day in day out, so your routes vary and it keeps it exciting.”
The five finalists for the 2017 Young Driver of the Year award are Nicholas Masters – White’s Stock Transport; Drew Cannon – Stockmaster; Ricky Hetherington – CJ Maddern; Tony Keen – AB Keen Transport; and Jeremy Taylor – Taylor’s of Bungendore.