A drive in the country
THE resources boom is luring workers into the remote corners of the country, driving demand for transport and logistics workers through the roof.
As an industry once portrayed as the domain of men wearing shorts and blue singlets, the multibillion-dollar industry has evolved and is expected to employ three times as many people by 2050.
South Australia has been feeling the pinch of a national shortage of truck and train drivers and as the mining sector grows so, too, does the need for training.
Genesee & Wyoming Australia – which has operations in SA and the NT – has locomotives hauling bulk commodities, such as grain, steel, gypsum, liquids and military equipment. while also providing short-haul shunting and terminal operations.
Managing director Bert Easthope says the important thing is to ensure there is enough time to train workers, although doing so difficult.
‘‘ We train in both Adelaide and regional centres and it’s generally needs driven – we don’t have an annual intake like universities,’’ he says.
‘‘ Demand is always high, there’s no shortage of people
is often who want to become train drivers. We had 250 applicants for a recent position.’’
Mr Easthope said it was important to train workers to a competent level. Typically, train drivers are paid during their training period, which can take up to three years depending on the job. Once training is completed, locomotive drivers can earn a sixfigure salary taking penalty rates into account.
Genesee & Wyoming Australia operates six intermodal services a week between Adelaide and Darwin.
As a locomotive driver, work can include hauling bulk materials from mines to ports and manufacturing facilities, with major contracts involving Penrice Soda Products, Gypsum Resources Australia and Onesteel.
– Adam Hegarty
SKILLED: Drivers Andy Kollosche and Brenton Qualmann in a Genesee & Wyoming locomotive.