The Road Transport Forum (RTF) has developed a two-pronged
attack to address the shortage of skilled drivers in the
The forum wishes to quantify the skilled and experienced
driver shortage through a survey and has also launched a
Women in Transport action plan, which outlines initiatives
designed to attract more women into the industry. The survey
was launched to determine the extent and severity of the
problem last week.
Immigration New Zealand had removed truck driving from its
Intermediate Skills Shortage List last year, making it harder
for employers to bring in overseas drivers to fill vacancies.
RTF chief executive Ken Shirley said he was dismayed when it
''With the improvement in the economy, the shortage will get
worse,'' Mr Shirley said.
''I suspect the problem is a lot worse than what a lot of
He said solid data was needed to demonstrate to the
Government that there was a serious issue.
The survey had been sent to forum members as well as to other
industry organisations and asked questions about difficulties
employers experienced in sourcing staff. He urged transport
employers to fill out the form so they could quantify the
issue. The survey needed to be returned by March 21.
The Women in Transport action plan had received a lot of
support and enthusiasm from the industry, he said.
''We want to encourage more interest from women as there is a
shortage of skilled drivers and we want to also improve the
image of the industry.
''The public has a stereotypical image of an old, fat,
pie-eating male [truck driver].
''As an industry we need to have a greater diversity and
provide more support for those already in the industry.''
Although women were prominent in support roles within the
industry, there were only between 3% and 5% of drivers who
''Those women who are in the industry are passionate about it
and that is good.''
The forum developed the plan during recent conferences and
meetings and was also working with the Ministry of Women's
Affairs, which had been supportive.
- by Yvonne O'Hara