A moving truck is a moving economy

In Industry Comment, June 20214 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 6, 2021

About 365,000 people in New Zealand currently receive a main benefit. About 122,000 of those are what we would consider work-ready. The rest have barriers to employment. For example, they could be disabled, sick, caring for someone who is disabled or sick, or a sole parent caring for a child.

The 122,000 people on the Job Seeker Work Ready Benefit represent a big pool of people ready and able to work. But, that doesn’t mean they can immediately fit into any industry and begin work tomorrow.

Many people who have gone onto the benefit during Covid-19 have come from the retail, hospitality or tourism sectors. These are the sectors that have been hit hardest, and to help these people move back into employment may require an intervention in the form of a training course to build their skills and move them into the available jobs.

This is why we have industry partnerships. They exist to help remove barriers to employment and address the needs of businesses, which are keen to employ New Zealanders in jobs they desperately need to fill.

Lately, many of these industry partnerships are focused on construction. It’s no secret the construction sector is growing at a rate not seen since the 1970s. We need to build houses, we need to build them now, and we need to get people skilled and ready to take on the available jobs that this growth creates.

But, like all of New Zealand?s industries, the construction sector relies on the hard-working people in the road-transport sector to do its job. The trucking industry delivers the vital product, plant and equipment to construction sites. You are the part of the economy that makes commerce possible, and throughout Covid-19, you kept working. Now we? re looking at an economy that is doing much better than we thought possible.

The Road Transport Forum has been quick to highlight a shortage of drivers and that something needs to be done. This is where some of the 122,000 people on Jobseeker can help. But, as you can all appreciate, it takes time and training to pilot a truck and trailer unit around town and across the country.

So the government and the Road Transport Forum are joining up to do something about it. On 29 April, I had the pleasure to join Transport Minister Michael Wood and CEO of the Road Transport Forum Nick Leggett at Carr & Haslam in Auckland to launch a new industry partnership focussed solely on your industry.

Te ara ki tua Road to success is our first pilot programme that aims to provide a career path to people receiving a main benefit to take up work as drivers starting on a class-2 licence, progressing to a class-5 licence.

This is a fantastic opportunity and the young people I spoke to on the programme were really excited about it.

The vast majority of people receiving a main benefit want to work. But, sometimes, they just need a little bit of help to find a career and reach their full potential.

This industry partnership is a great opportunity to bridge that gap and remove the barriers for people who want to join your fantastic industry.

Thank you to everyone who was involved in bringing this pilot to life. I’m looking forward to seeing it develop further over the coming year.