Supply chain training methods in need of overhaul

By: Jason Whittaker

Transport and logistics training methods may be in for a shake-up after a report revealed serious deficiencies in their ability

Transport and logistics training methods may be in for a shake-up after a report revealed serious deficiencies in their ability to be effectively applied to the supply chain industry.

The Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council (TLISC) has found skills shortages currently crippling the industry will only get worse unless moves are taken to streamline training packages.

According to the report, an increasing proportion of training is focusing on full qualifications in line with the Australian Qualifications Framework whereas the industry’s workforce is organised around licence and regulatory requirements and operational requirements.

"In many sectors, occupational competencies are often acquired in small clumps and build gradually towards a full qualification or are built on top of a qualification," the report says.

"Many of these requirements do not align to national qualifications."

Furthermore, as licensing requirements are not packaged as a full qualification, TLISC found they cannot gain traineeship funding or be counted as a full course enrolment.

In order to address this, the TLISC is calling for training packages to be adjusted so as to align with regulatory and licensing requirements.

It says two types of competency levels for training packages are needed, one designed specifically for licence requirements; the other focusing on full vocational qualifications.

It also wants changes to vocational education training (VET) so the industry can modify packages to meet specific needs, such as the demands of changing technology and the growth in different sectors.

Adopting a more flexible system, the report says, will allow the industry to address specific areas where there are skills shortages.
"A critical requirement in meeting current and future skills shortages is a system of training and assessment that is efficient and responsive and can quickly adapt to skill requirements," the report says.

The report also highlighted significant failings in the traineeship program, saying it has not benefited the industry because much of the training has been done internally by employers, privately or on-the-job with certification through licensing exams.

As such, the TLISC has called for the industry and training operators to work cooperatively to implement a more effective system, such as developing pathway for school leavers and migrant workers.

"To meet the critical skills shortages projected, it will be important for VET, industry, regulators and the Skills Council to examine ways in which funded traineeships can be implemented more widely, further assisting new entrants to get into the industry and upgrade their skills once in it," the report says.

As well as this, the TLISC says the industry should poach outgoing defence logistics personnel and re-train them for the corporate sector and expand its certificate program to indigenous communities, disadvantaged groups and mature-aged retirees.

The onus will be on the transport and logistics industry to implement changes, as the report noted it has an older age profile than other industries, with 43 percent of its workers aged 45 years or older.

Furthermore, the report highlighted an "extreme skill demand" for truck drivers and store-persons, followed by a strong demand for train drivers, safety training in stevedoring occupations and logistics management.

Despite failures in the training system, the TLISC found the industry is also struggling to attract younger people because of operating restrictions.
"In many occupations, the licences that are required cannot be achieved until a person is over 18," the report says.

"Insurance arrangements for all driving occupations remain a key limitation in attracting young people to the industry."

Despite this, the report noted employment in transport and storage has grown by 14.4 percent the past five years, equating to an extra 58,900 new jobs.

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