While some people don’t think twice about how groceries, household goods and online purchases get to them, many are aware of the importance of Australia’s trucking industry.
CAPTION: Australian Army HX77 heavy rigid vehicles loaded with fodder heading for Bonang in the north of Gippsland in support of Operation Bushfire Assist, 2020. Story by Captain Krysten Clifton. Photo by Private Michael Currie.
But it has a problem and Defence might be able to help.
The trucking industry is experiencing workforce shortages, with key industry players pointing to challenges in recruiting, training and retaining heavy-vehicle operators.
The Australian Army trains and licenses thousands of soldiers to drive and operate the ADF’s extensive heavy-vehicle fleet.
Although there is no formal agreement between the industry and Defence, the benefits go both ways.
Commanding Officer Army School of Transport Lieutenant Colonel Philippa Cleary said people joined Defence for high-quality training and qualifications.
“The training continuum requires candidates to have only a provisional car licence before commencing driver training at Puckapunyal at the Army School of Transport,” Lieutenant Colonel Cleary said.
“The continuum licenses drivers for Heavy Vehicle Over Mass Over Size codes through an 11-week, comprehensive training program.
“Defence issues the licence under an exemption framework and all licences can be transferred to the civilian equivalent upon separation from the ADF.
“Army supports lifelong careers in the Australian transport and logistics industry, both in and out of uniform.
“Our part-time soldiers play a vital role in helping us to respond to domestic disasters and contribute to maintaining and protecting Australia’s national interests, while keeping Australia moving.”
Army also offers recovery technician training.
Candidates conduct the same training as drivers before moving on to the Army School of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in Wodonga to complete 12 months of intensive complex heavy transport and armoured vehicle recovery training.
“If heavy vehicle drivers are up for a challenge, the Australian Army offers fast-track pathways for experienced operators, in both full-time and part-time roles,” Lieutenant Colonel Cleary said.