Dairy giant Fonterra has provided NorthTec with a milk tanker to help driver training and ultimately create employment opportunities for the region's young people.

The decommissioned tanker was handed over to NorthTec's commercial transport department recently.

The tanker, on loan to NorthTec, will be used in training for students earning their Class 4 and Class 5 truck licences. It can also be used for completing driver competency tests and assessments, and other training opportunities such as safety inspections, mechanical inspections and truck safety days.

Named Uruao, the tanker is the third tanker and trailer unit loaned by Fonterra to tertiary institutes in New Zealand.

Fonterra's national transport and logistics manager Barry McColl said that with lots of young people seeking employment in Northland, Fonterra hoped the truck will give them a tool they can use to gain experience and as a springboard into a new career.


"We're really proud to be able to support initiatives that help develop communities and give back to the regions where we operate.

"These are the communities that our farmers and our people are part of, so being able to help out with resources that bring new opportunities is important to us," he said.

Darrin Rhodes, Fonterra's regional transport training manager for the North Island, said the company had often discussed the shortage of drivers in the industry, and decided to work with polytechnics to address the issue, providing the trucks to enable driver training.

NorthTec chief executive Mark Ewen said it wasn't always easy for NorthTec to have the right resources to deliver to all its stakeholders, "but now we have a truck and trailer for the next three years".

"It is a very generous investment in us - it's an investment because we need to be producing more drivers from our region and employing more drivers in our region. It's an investment in us to deliver fully trained drivers back to the industry for the next three years and beyond."