Is a career with heavy vehicles fate or destiny?

Sometimes, in the face of our problems and challenges, we need to take inspiration from our successes, because the answers might be right under our nose.

While most industries are struggling to find qualified workers, the shortage of skilled tradespeople and apprentices is at crisis levels.

We have evidence, however, that our efforts are working – so maybe we need to harness the lessons and build on our momentum?

The heavy vehicle industry has not typically sat at the top of the list of career paths promoted to high school students through the education system, despite the diversity of the rewarding opportunities in one of the last great Australian manufacturing industries.

HVIA leads workforce development programs for the heavy vehicle industry through a broad range of initiatives and partnerships.

One of those is hosting Schools to Industry tours, most notably to the Brisbane Truck Show.

While they might largely fly under the radar for many busy members and show exhibitors, HVIA hosts over a thousand students brought to the show on specially chartered buses.

In 2021 the students initially made their way to the South Bank Piazza where they visit exhibitors in the Jobs Hub; they enjoyed entertaining and insightful presentations from the BOP crew and other young industry ambassadors, and watched competing teams go at it in heats of the dynamic National Apprentice Challenge.

Host Scott Millar told the students to be willing to step outside their comfort zones.

“Say yes to opportunities,” Scott said. “Because you never know where they are going to take you.” Too true.

The students then toured the show, from top to bottom – soaking in the atmosphere and the thrill of seeing the latest trucks, trailers and technology up close.

Lynne Beasley is the Work Placement Officer at Aviation State High School in Brisbane. Just as the name implies, the school – located barely a runway’s length from the Brisbane Airport – specialises in aerospace industry skills and training.

Lynne wrote to us recently about a couple of the students who were on board when Aviation SHS took part in the BTS21 Schools to Industry program.

The first was Daniel, who has now completed Year 12.  As a result of applications he lodged at the Brisbane Truck Show Jobs Hub, Daniel obtained interviews for both Isuzu and Penske prior to completing his schooling.

“He has been offered both apprenticeships,” Lynne told us. 

In fact, Daniel was so stoked, he returned from Schoolies early. He contacted Lynne to recommend that all Aviation SHS students have the opportunity to participate in the Brisbane Truck Show in future.

Almost ironically, one of the interviewers told Daniel that they always assumed Aviation SHS students’ education would be solely focussed on all things aeronautics.

“Had his application not come via the truck show, they would have been unlikely to short-list him,” Lynne said.

“Although we attract students with an aviation focus, and we provide links and opportunities in that industry, we are a local high school and cater for all student interest areas, not all of whom are interested in aviation.”

Lynne told us the Brisbane Truck Show left its mark on the second student too.

“He chose to arrive at his formal in “Captain Starlight” – a very impressive Mack truck,” Lynne said.

Captain Starlight in not just any Mack – it’s a renowned 1988 Bicentennial Superliner showstopper.

“Thank you for all the work you put in to providing this opportunity to students. I hope the industry benefits from gaining a pool of high-calibre employees,” Lynne said.

No – thank you, Lynne.

Your willingness to look outside the square, (or fuselage as the case may be), has opened doors for these students that will add them to a great Australian story – the industry that keeps Australia moving.

The iconic Captail Starlight – 1988 Bicentennial Mack Superliner
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