Gov­ern­ment’s driver train­ing boost

New Zealand Truck & Driver - - News -

A NA­TIONAL COM­MER­CIAL DRIVER train­ing pro­gramme given a $2.8mil­lion boost from the Gov­ern­ment’s Pro­vin­cial Growth Fund (PGF) will have the abil­ity to train up to 700 driv­ers and ma­chine oper­a­tors a year, reck­ons Re­gional Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment Min­is­ter Shane Jones.

„e PGF money will go to the Man­feild Park Trust in Feild­ing – to ex­pand its cur­rent Class 1 driver train­ing pro­gramme into a full suite of driver and op­er­a­tor train­ing, cov­er­ing trucks, diggers, 4WDs, fork­lifts and rollers.

„e fund­ing will also sup­port cap­i­tal works re­quired to build new train­ing fa­cil­i­ties at the Man­feild site, in­clud­ing spe­cial­ist train­ing tracks.

Jones says there is “a real de­mand for skilled driv­ers and ma­chin­ery oper­a­tors na­tion­ally,” and there are ma­jor con­struc­tion projects in the Manawatu-Whanganui re­gion, in­clud­ing the Manawatu Gorge al­ter­na­tive road route and the es­tab­lish­ment of a new Ki­wiRail hub near Palmerston North.

„e re­gion also has an ex­pand­ing role as a ma­jor dis­tri­bu­tion cen­tre for the lower North Is­land, says Jones, adding: “We know that ManawatuWhanganui has high lev­els of un­em­ploy­ment and un­der-util­i­sa­tion. „is in­vest­ment will en­sure more peo­ple in the re­gion have the op­por­tu­nity to gain mean­ing­ful em­ploy­ment.

“„is will be the most com­pre­hen­sive ve­hi­cle train­ing fa­cil­ity of this type in the lower North Is­land. „is is an op­por­tu­nity for the re­gion to lead this kind of train­ing na­tion­ally as well.

“„rough the PGF the Gov­ern­ment is re­spond­ing to lo­cal needs, by fund­ing projects which will make a real di™er­ence to re­gions and their peo­ple.”

Road Trans­port Fo­rum chief ex­ec­u­tive Ken Shirley wel­comes the PGF in­vest­ment and says it’s “an ac­knowl­edg­ment of the im­por­tance of skilled com­mer­cial driv­ers to the econ­omy and the em­ploy­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able to those who un­der­take such train­ing, es­pe­cially in the re­gions.

“It’s well-known that NZ is lack­ing in skilled com­mer­cial driv­ers. RTF has es­ti­mated that the road trans­port in­dus­try alone is around 4000 heavy ve­hi­cle driv­ers short – a sit­u­a­tion that is du­pli­cated in many other de­vel­oped economies,” adds Shirley.

“RTF and the road trans­port in­dus­try welcome this in­vest­ment and look for­ward to work­ing with the Gov­ern­ment in other pol­icy ar­eas, such as im­mi­gra­tion, to ›nd fur­ther so­lu­tions to the cur­rent work­force short­age.”


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