Leading a horse to water

In News6 MinutesBy Dom KalasihSeptember 22, 2023

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Road Transport Association NZ Region 5 Inc. AGM in Gore. That was a highlight and very enjoyable for a few reasons.

Firstly, it was great to be back in Central Otago with its beautiful scenery and nice rural towns. Secondly, it was humbling and gratifying to see a good number of people turn out; their passion and commitment is pretty inspirational.

When it got down to business, their ability to respect the past but be bold and willing to make changes not only ensures that the sector is best organised to deal with the future, but that the value that they have built up is well positioned and managed to contribute positively to the sector.

The other pleasing thing for me was that as I prepared my presentation it gave me a chance to reflect on some of the good things we have delivered.

The changes Region 5 made are future-focussed, and there are two key projects under our Attracting Talent Strategic Pillar that I also see as foundation-type, long-burn initiatives.

Road to success

For many, training people is seen as a compliance requirement. The Road to success Certificates of Competency (micro-credentials) are a way an employer can demonstrate they are meeting industry good practice, and provide evidence that their people have met an industry-recognised level.

However, another way of looking at it is it being a good investment in our future workforce. Growing the culture and behaviour of training, learning and recognising those people to a road transport industry-recognised level is a long-term play that’s good for our industry and better aligns ourselves with similar professions.

Road to success does this through the development of critical skills recognised by industry consisting of four micro-credentials. There are two options:

  • Traineeship: this is for those drivers developing the skills as they progress through their driver licenses classes; and
  • Boost: this is for experienced drivers (for example, Class 4 or 5) who complete the same four micro-credentials.

Some transport businesses are already investing heavily in workforce development. We don’t want to significantly change what they do as we appreciate they already have the internal systems, processes, technical expertise, and HR management systems to manage their people.

So here’s how this works: The transport business simply lets Transporting New Zealand know they want their learners recognised with a Competency Certificate. We then liaise with MITO which ensures that learners receive their respective Road to success Certificates.  The transport operator then liaises directly with MITO to enrol their learners and complete the micro-credentials.

Diversity Toolbox

 In case you haven’t seen it, our recent launch of the Diversity Toolbox is another example of how we are preparing to meet the future. It’s clear there are many challenges on the road ahead and that the road transport industry will look very different to the past.

The Diversity Toolbox is a set of practical tools and resources for road freight operators. The Toolbox, supported by Teletrac Navman New Zealand, emphasises how a diverse and well supported workforce is key to all businesses’ long-term success.

Along with the Diversity Cohort established last year, this initiative is helping build a stronger culture that incorporates people from diverse backgrounds.

As well as directly benefiting your team members, diversity and inclusion can help address driver shortages, staff turnover, and increase productivity. The resources are available for download, or we can send a free set of Toolbox resources straight to your business address.

Short-term wins

The Good Practice Guide: Safe Operation and Maintenance of Sideloaders is now freely available on our website.

The New Zealand Intermodal Transport Safety Group (NZITSG), made up of transport operators, manufacturers, industry associations and the industry training provider MITO, developed this Good Practice Guide and it has been endorsed by WorkSafe.

It’s a really great sector initiative and an excellent example of the industry knowing what it needs and getting stuff done to achieve the best results.

Call to action

The above initiatives will help make our industry safer and make our industry more attractive. A big shout out to all those companies that have already got behind them

The old saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.” Ultimately, it’s now up to individual road transport operators to take advantage of them so I’m asking you to help spread the message.

– By Dom Kalasih, interim chief executive.