By: Fabian Cotter, Photography by: courtesy Scania Australia

THE DUTY to meet Chain of Responsibility (CoR) accountability and updated NVHR standards’ compliance was a motivation behind Scania Australia’s national bus and truck technician certification programme, which completed recently, it reports.

“Over the past 24 months, Scania has invested heavily to ensure all our technicians have the relevant industry accredited qualifications required to perform a wide range of tasks,” said Patrik Tharna, Scania Australia director of Aftersales.

With the minimum aim to ensure all its technicians are fully qualified and compliant with state and national certification for the jobs they undertake, Scania says it is proud to have some of the best technicians in the industry, who all have access to the special tools, vehicle data, service manuals and training allowing them to, "…diagnose and service Scania trucks, buses and engines better than anyone else."

As the company explains, the Australian transport industry is heavily regulated and chain of responsibility is an important consideration for operators.

Service and repair workshop technicians require more than factory training and ‘years on the tools’, but actual certificates that confirm they are qualified to undertake work on heavy-duty vehicles, it explains.

In order to support the long-term availability of trained technicians, Scania has developed its own apprentice program, it reports.

There is a comprehensive introduction training program for recently employed technicians, as well as technical progression programs for existing technicians, it confirms.

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Scania workshops are equipped with special tooling that allows its staff to perform complex tasks in an efficient way and, as a company-owned distributor, Scania technicians are all enrolled in a bespoke four-level factory training program, it states.

"Scania is a premium brand and as such our customers should feel confident that we always have suitably qualified staff working on their vehicles, both from Scania product knowledge, legal and NHVR compliance points of view," said Patrik Tharna, Scania Australia director of Aftersales.

"Over the past 24 months, Scania has invested heavily to ensure all our technicians have the relevant industry accredited qualifications required to perform a wide range of tasks," he said.

"We introduced a special training program to upskill technicians who were restricted in terms of what their qualifications allowed them to do.

"I would say that we’re a standout in the industry.

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"Many workshops may not take the trouble to ensure their technicians are formally qualified, but at Scania we are proud to say that we have a process to ensure all work is done by a technician with the relevant legal qualification.

"There is more than brand pride at stake here; there are legal requirements and ramifications if an unqualified technician works on a vehicle, which may later be involved in an incident while in service," he explained.

"Many of our larger fleet customers who are required to ensure that they have suitably qualified repairers and technicians working on their vehicles under the NHVR, do check this with us and we are happy to provide these guarantees.

"Undoubtedly, these questions are being asked at other workshops around the country, as well," Tharna said.

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Scania Australia’s Workshop Performance manager Mathew Wyatt says the company has set a high standard.

"We reviewed all of our 150 technicians nationwide and if there was an older qualification, or we thought that there may be a gap, then we have upskilled them to meet the latest formal qualifications," Wyatt explained.

"This is important for our compliance with the NHVR regulations, and something our customers require, as well.

"When we sign contracts for maintenance with large fleets, we are asked about the compliance of our technicians, and we have made sure that our people comply.

"Of course, around the country the requirements differ, but we have invested in our people.

"This is especially the case where we have acquired technicians new to Scania with a light-vehicle background, who have the technical knowledge and experience, but may have been lacking the formal qualification or certification," Wyatt stated.

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"Our recruitment process ensures from the first day that new hires are formally qualified, or if not that we have identified any gaps and will build a programme to resolve this as a matter of urgency - and we will restrict the level of work that they can undertake until the programme is completed.

"Within the workshops we have clear guidelines surrounding which level of qualifications are required to sign off which types of work, in line with the national or state-based regulations," he explained.

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In order to be employed by Scania Australia as a qualified heavy vehicle technician, a technician needs to hold any Australian heavy vehicle trade state government or body-issued certificate (pre-1999 apprenticeship completion), or an AUR99/AUR05/AUR12/AUR Australian Trade qualification as prescribed by the regulations for heavy vehicle repair work [(i.e. AUR31116 - Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical, or Certificate III in Heavy Commercial Vehicle Mechanical Technology (post 2013 apprenticeship completion)], it confirms.

In New South Wales, for example, it is also mandatory for a heavy vehicle technician to hold a current MTA - Motor vehicle tradesperson certificate, the company informs.
Further workshop qualification requirements apply to roles such as auto electricians and trades assistants, wheel alignment technicians and trailer technicians, it says.

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