Getting ahead with driver training

In May 2024, Promotional4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJune 27, 2024

Drivers need to keep learning and adapt to changes in the transport sector or risk being left behind, says Royce ‘Jumbo’ Te Huia.

Jumbo Te Huia is part of the iconic Coromandel Te Huia family, who have been in the transport sector for over 40 years. He currently drives for Chris Angus Transport and has completed a range of training with MITO.

“I got involved in transport because my whole family is involved in transport, and we are all truck drivers,” Jumbo says.

“My father was an owner- driver, and it all escalated from there.”

Jumbo says that when you’ve been working as a driver and in transport for such a long time, some people might think that extra training wouldn’t be beneficial.

“Because you’ve driven for so long, you think you know everything, but you don’t,” he says. “When you start going through all the courses with MITO and all the scenarios that come up, you realise there’s a lot there you might not know.”

Jumbo says that while it may have taken some time, older and more experienced drivers are becoming more open to doing extra training.

“If you don’t move ahead with the new technology and new protocols that are happening, you might not even be in the game of being a truck driver. You’ll just end up stubborn and angry, and you’ll be left behind.”

Jumbo said the training helped him change the way he did things.

“A lot had to do with being a bit more patient and knowing all the different laws that apply to your operations,” he says.

“Knowing all the safety aspects about your job is probably one of the most important things you can learn. Safety is a huge thing for logging; it’s massive. That’s why completing training is important, not just for new drivers but also for drivers like me who have been doing it for a long time. It is a good reminder not to take things for granted.

“When you’ve been doing the same job for a long time, you can get into a mode of, ‘Oh. I know this, and I know that’. But things have changed; things are always changing. You’ve got to be prepared for these changes, and training will help you with that.

“These days, we’ve got all this new technology in our trucks – cameras looking at your eyes and devices checking your heart rate. You’ve got to make sure you are managing everything properly.”

Jumbo says training is important to attract younger people into logging, because the rules now mean they aren’t allowed to ride along on the job.

“I was virtually born in the truck. We lived in a truck,” Jumbo says. “You can’t take kids in trucks anymore, so they’re not experiencing it young. You can’t take young people into the port, or onto a mill site. That really needs to change if we are going to get young people into logging.”

Jumbo was the 2023 Log Truck Driver Excellence Award Winner, something he says was a great achievement.

“As well as driving the truck, I’m also a driver-trainer and the operations manager for Chris Angus Transport. If there are new courses that come up, I’ll do them. I’m always looking to improve and get ahead and things like that.

“You’ve always got to try to improve where you can, especially if you can make things a lot better for fellow drivers.”