Good choice! Australia is facing a growing shortage of truck drivers as road freight increases in importance and current drivers reach retirement age.
But what does the job involve? What qualifications do you need? And where can you find work? Find out more in our handy FAQ.
What does the job involve?
There is more to truck driving than driving a truck! You will also be expected to:
- Load goods onto your truck – manually or with a forklift – and ensure that they are correctly positioned and securely strapped/covered if necessary
- Safely transport goods to their destination
- Carry out basic truck inspections and maintenance
- Check on the condition of goods
- Use a GPS/navigation system with confidence
- Unload goods at your destination
- Complete the necessary paperwork
What type of industry can I work in?
There’s a huge choice of potential sectors: construction, waste services, agriculture and warehousing, to name a few. So many goods are transported on our roads! Exact roles vary according to the sector you work in and the type of goods you transport. Driving a cement mixer truck will obviously be very different to transporting livestock from A to B. Some specialist roles, such as the transport of dangerous goods, require additional qualifications and licences.
What sort of hours can I expect?
Working hours vary – you may start early and finish late. Truck drivers may drive interstate and into rural and remote areas, so you may spend many nights on the road away from home. Some trucks are kitted out with bunks, a fridge and television for this very reason.
What qualifications do I need?
To start: a clean driving record. You will also need to pass practical and knowledge tests and an eyesight test to gain your heavy vehicle licence.
There are five different categories of licence:
- LR: Light rigid
- MR: Medium rigid
- HR: Heavy rigid
- HC: Heavy combination
- MC: Multi combination
You can’t go straight from a class C (car) licence to an MC licence! You need to have held a class C licence for at least one year before you can apply for an LR or MR licence, and for at least two years before you can apply for an HR licence.
To apply for an HC licence, you need to have held an MR or HR licence for least one year. And to apply for an MC licence, you need to have held an HR or HC licence for at least one year.
There are a number of qualification routes, but most people choose to complete a Heavy Vehicle Competency Based Assessment (HVCBA) with a Registered Training Organisation to gain their licence.
To read more about the HVCBA route and to find a Registered Training Organisation in your area, click here.
For more information about the heavy vehicle licence types and requirements in NSW, click here
What is the pay like?
According to the government’s Job Outlook, full-time truck drivers currently earn around $1,300 per week, although pay may be lower than this for newly-qualified drivers, and higher for those with more experience.
Where can I find work?
- Approach companies directly – some may take on newly-qualified drivers and train them on the job.
- Check out online job ads.
- Register with recruitment agencies.
It can be difficult for newly-qualified drivers to find work, as many roles require at least one year’s practical experience. Don’t give up! The future is bright for the truck driving profession.
Australian Government Job Outlook https://joboutlook.gov.au/occupation.aspx?code=7331
NSW Roads & Maritime Services http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/business-industry/heavy-vehicles/licence/index.html
Australian Trucking Association http://www.truck.net.au/
If you hold a heavy vehicle licence and are looking for truck driver opportunities, please call the Optimal Recruitment team on 02 8416 4181.