A heavy vehicle operator course is giving participants the opportunity to gain their trucking licences and employment opportunities.
The course, run in Stratford by Axiom Training, is 26 weeks long with 16 weeks of classroom-based training and 10 weeks of work experience. Six people from around Taranaki are taking part in this year's course.
The free course is funded by the Government Tertiary Trades and Apprenticeship Fund until the end of 2022.
Trainer Andy Daley says the course offers class 2 and 4 or class 4 and 5 truck licences, depending on the class of licence a participant enters the course with.
"Participants need their full car licence to take part. If they start with just their full car licence, they receive class 2 and 4 licences. If a participant comes in with their class 2, they receive class 4 and 5 truck licences."
A class 2 licence allows a driver to operate a vehicle up to 18,000kgsor a vehicle with two axles. The class 4 licence allows people to drive a vehicle 18,000kg and over. This includes trucks that have loads of aggregates and fertiliser and other bulk trucks such as concrete mixers, waste, refuse and recycling trucks. A class 5 licence allows the driver to operate a vehicle combination 25,000kg and over.
Andy says for best results the programme follows on from the NZ Certificate in Study and Career Preparation - Commercial Transport (level 3) programme (SCP).
"The SCP is based around numeracy, literacy, first aid and communications with a transport flavour, which leads into the next-level programmes in commercial road transport and civil construction. Some of our participants have entered this course after completing the SCP. I believe it's good for the participants to do both as it gives them the skills and knowledge to offer an employer a good driver to enter the workforce."
He says the participants complete over 16 NZQA unit standards in the Heavy Vehicle Operator course.
"As well as their trucking licences, they receive a forklift operator's certificate and F endorsement, dangerous goods endorsement, and other unit standards involved with heavy truck operators."
John Roper-Taylor has received his class 4 trucking licence.
"The course is a good opportunity to gain the necessary licences to start a job in the heavy trucking sector. I'm very appreciative of the opportunities I've been given."
Allen Hotter says he heard of the opportunities he could gain through the course.
"It's a really great way to get the needed qualifications and licences to get into a truck and drive. The course has a really supportive environment and it's been beneficial."
Andy says the course is equal parts classroom work and "hands-on experience".
"Axiom Training has hired trucks so the participants can practise their driving and they've also been on a number of field trips. They've visited Central Tyres and Automotive to learn about tyres, and McCurdy Trucks to learn about the systems and components on trucks. I'm a firm believer of the benefits of practical and theoretical knowledge."
He says the course attendees are moving into the work experience part of the course.
"We have one person going on to a local concreting firm and the other going to a trucking company. It introduces them to the workforce."
Andy says the course is beneficial.
"They receive all the tools they need to go into employment. The course opens doors for them."
The course has its next intake in February.
"It's open to everyone as long as they have their car licence, a good attitude, and are ready to learn."
■ For more information, or to enrol in the next course, go to www.axiomtraining.co.nz