Getting Your Employees Ready for their Heavy Vehicle Licence

The old adage “employees are a company’s greatest asset” is particularly apt when you’re looking for a company driver, since you’re putting them in charge of a very expensive piece of capital equipment.

That puts an absolute premium on a business having a dedicated, professional staff member behind the wheel of every company truck; ensuring that this highly valuable machine is expertly handled.

But if your business is looking to get the right person into the driver’s seat, the perfect candidate might already be in front of your nose.

Helping a current employee get their truck licence could save you money, while showing them you’re committed to their professional development.

Human Resources experts estimate it can cost upwards of twice a current employee’s salary to find and train a new staff member or replacement, so it’s going to be beneficial to the business’ bottom line as well as the general mood in the office or depot to upskill your existing staff.

A current employee is also a known quantity, so you’ll have a good understanding of their traits and characteristics.

For businesses looking to buy a truck because your company has outgrown its utes, it might be worth considering Isuzu’s pre-bodied Ready to Work range of light trucks, many of which are driveable on a car licence – avoiding the need for licence training altogether.

But if a heavy vehicle licence is a must, read on.

Know your state’s requirements

Like any decision, getting the right information from the outset makes your life a lot easier.

Because every state has different rules and regulations around getting a heavy vehicle licence, it’s advantageous to do a quick online search and find out who’s eligible.

This is important when giving younger workers a leg up in the industry. In Queensland, New South Wales and the ACT, drivers only need to have held a driver’s licence for a year before they can go for their Light Rigid (LR) truck licence, but in Tasmania and South Australia, drivers need to be at least 19 years old before they go for the same licence.

Clicking on the links below and checking out your state or territory’s licensing restrictions will help make sure your would-be driver will have the best opportunity to succeed. Many of these websites also provide helpful guides that help people prepare for their test.

QLD: NSW: ACT: VIC: TAS: SA: WA: NT

Think about ways you can offer support

As you’re identifying the right staff member to attain their heavy vehicle licence, it’s also worth pondering how your business can help them succeed.

There’s some practical advice covering most heavy vehicle licence tests that will help put your employee at ease. The more information you can give them, the more relaxed and prepared they’ll be.

You can tell your employee that your trainer will probably also be your assessor, there will be a camera recording your licence test, the test will be at least 45 minutes long, and with many accredited trainers the pass rate is over 95 per cent.

Some aspects of the test will seem familiar to car licence holders; there’s often a theory test, a drive assessment and a skills assessment, which includes cabin inspections and load restraint.

Time and costs

With thorough research, business costs can be kept down by shopping around for training courses. Australia’s current truckie shortage means many courses are government subsidised.

Although costs vary, learning to drive a heavy vehicle, especially from scratch, isn’t cheap. Hourly training can be upwards of $150 an hour, while assessment fees vary around the $300 mark.

Many organisations offer ‘extreme novice’ courses, which take the driver through from start to finish. These can cost over $2,000, but there are advantages. Many of these courses take place over a single day, sometimes including the test itself, reducing time off work for your staff.

The most important aspect of choosing a training organisation is to be careful that any course you or your employee applies for is fully accredited, with experienced instructors and a substantial mix of both practical and theoretical lessons.

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