Driver with the Royal NZ Army Logistic Regiment

Training: Waiouru, Linton and Burnham Army Camps; and Trade Training School (Trentham).
Contact: Phone 0800 NZ Army (0800 692769), website www.army.mil.nz, email armyrecruiting@nzdf.mil.nz
Four intakes a year. Check with your local office or apply online.
Prerequisites: Minimum age 17, must be medically and physically fit, minimum of English and mathematics to NCEA Level 1. Drivers need to have at least a car restricted licence. All applicants undergo a police records check.
Salary: Starts at $25,000 plus benefits such as free medical, dental, work clothing, cheap meals and accommodation.

Army drivers work with vehicles carrying troops and loads. The job includes servicing and maintaining vehicles, plus being on call to respond to civil defence call outs or short-notice deployments.

All Army newcomers complete the 12-week All Arms Recruit Course in Waiouru, adapting to Army life and learning to be a soldier.

To specialise as drivers, soldiers undergo the six-week driver operator course at Linton (Palmerston North) or Burnham (Christchurch) learning on-road convoy driving, defensive driving, vehicle dynamics and off-road driving in a light 4WD and Unimog truck. The soldiers finish this course with a full Class 2 (truck) licence and dangerous goods endorsement.

Next is the four-week Logistics Corps training at the Trade Training School in Trentham. This provides an oversight and basic skills to use equipment such as generators, communications equipment, tents and camouflage nets.

Last is the Junior Drivers Course, also at Trentham, where the soldiers learn to drive in operational environments. This introduces them to advanced RNZALR driver skills, including deployment as part of a transport organisation, helicopter underslung load procedures, navigation, camouflage and concealing vehicles, and combat service support distribution procedures.

Drivers are posted to Linton Military Camp or Burnham Military Camp. They can progress to driving instructor and section commander positions; and there are opportunities to be deployed or posted overseas, including United Nations deployments or Multinational Observer Force.

The employee

Private Nick Ahkuoi

Age 22

Driver, 3 Transport Company, Burnham

Enlisted September 2004, completed recruit training November 2004, posted to 3 Transport Company.

I enlisted as a stepping stone to joining the police force. I had family in the services who recommended a career in the military and I wanted to travel which I knew that I could do serving with the army.

The Junior Drivers Course in Wellington was the best course that I have done with heaps of driving in the North Island. All these driving courses were done just after I joined up.

My expectations when I joined were from the movies with people yelling at you all the time, but that is not the case. Yes, sometimes you get yelled at, but only when you deserve it, or initially as part of building us into teams.

Generally we work from 7.30am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday, but we sometimes work weekends or extended hours. We are briefed the day before on upcoming activities, we have physical training three times a week, and otherwise we are completing tasks or servicing vehicles.

I get 21 annual leave days, plus statutory holidays. I am in the heavy lift platoon which drives buses so we sometimes have to work the weekend, but only once a month at most. My job involves driving vehicles with troops or loads on, sometimes on our own or with our section which is usually five to six other trucks. I also do minor servicing and maintenance.

I want to progress through the ranks getting more command, responsibility and more pay, and eventually join the police. If I remain in the Army I will become a driving instructor but, ultimately, I would like another deployment overseas. I completed an operational deployment to East Timor in 2006 and I would like to do another in Sinai, Afghanistan, Solomons or Antarctica. Army allows you time off for sports. I have made the Army Rugby League team, and I have a goal of making the New Zealand Defence Force Rugby League team.

The employer

Major Lisa Kelliher

Officer Commanding 3 Transport Company, Burnham

Soldiers are employed by the New Zealand Defence Force and selected through recruiting channels. We receive soldiers from their recruit course in Waiouru. The Army functions on four key elements of comradeship, commitment, courage and integrity. We require our divers to be professional in their duties, timely and courteous.

The training the Army provides is essential for Pte Ahkuoi to be employed in this trade. Training is based on the functional aspects of providing driver licences, vehicle familiarisations, experience and operational driver tasks.

The military provides a mix of formal, informal and practical training mediums. Soldiers in the trade of driver must complete trade knowledge and skills competencies, including obtaining endorsements, licences from Class 1 to 6, and vehicle familiarisations.

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