Learning on the job

In March 2023, Promotional4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 13, 2023

Expanding the skill set of your workers is a smart business move. It keeps them up to date with the latest guidelines and best practices and enables them to learn new skills and move up the ladder within your organisation. With the current skills shortage affecting all industries across New Zealand, hanging on to good workers is essential.

MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Road Transport – Heavy Vehicle Operator (Level 3) programme provides the skills and knowledge required for your drivers to safely and competently operate heavy rigid vehicles or heavy combination vehicles. For drivers who have been in the industry for a while, it can give formal recognition of the skills they have gained on the job.

A passion for driving

Currently working as a driver trainer for H.W. Richardson Group, MITO graduate Jodi McNamara has spent the past 10-plus years dedicated to growing her skills and knowledge in the commercial road transport industry.

“I realised my passion for driving when I got a seasonal job delivering 45kg gas bottles,” Jodi explains. “I really enjoyed being out and about and doing something physical, so I decided to pursue a career in the industry.”

After beginning a full-time job with H.W. Richardson Group’s Southern Transport, Jodi was exposed to transporting a variety of different goods – from fertiliser to aggregate to concrete panels.

“It gave me the opportunity to drive all sorts of different truck set-ups and a variety of different loads. So I gained a lot of experience in a reasonably short amount of time – approximately two years due to Southern Transport’s variety of trucks in their yard.”

Jodi completed MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Road Transport (Heavy Vehicle Operator) (Level 3) programme in 2020.

“I found the e-learning part of the programme especially flexible because you can do it whenever it suits you,” she says.

“If you were in a classroom, you would have to go along with the pace of the class, but when you’re working on it by yourself, you can just rocket through.”


The training programme includes a mix of practical training and assessment undertaken in the workplace, and e-learning, allowing learners to complete theory elements of the programme at their own pace. On average, the Level 3 programme takes 15 months to complete.

The training programme will lead to the following outcomes, with learners able to:

• Comply with the commercial road transport regulatory environment and health and safety obligations as a heavy vehicle operator to ensure the safety of themselves, their vehicle, other road users, and the public

• Demonstrate safe and fuel-efficient driving skills and expertise, and perform driving manoeuvres and tasks for a heavy rigid vehicle or heavy vehicle combination

• Complete comprehensive route planning as a heavy vehicle operator using appropriate navigation technology, ensuring regulatory obligations are met, and public safety is protected

• Communicate effectively with customers, clients, and colleagues as a heavy vehicle operator

• Apply knowledge of heavy vehicle mechanical and electronic principles and systems, such as vehicle technology, types and combinations, to transport freight and safely carry out essential checks

• Apply knowledge of loading, restraint, and unloading principles and procedures to work as a heavy vehicle operator.