Pursuing pathways

Career options in bus mechanics and logistics open up for a group of Brisbane students visiting MAN and TPI

Pursuing pathways
Pursuing pathways

By David Goeldner | May 29, 2013

Organising a group of 46 students to tour heavy vehicle distribution and spare parts centres inside four hours is a logistical challenge, but the benefits were immediately obvious when students from Brisbane’s Runcorn High School visited Transpacific Industries’ Rocklea and Wacol facilities recently.

TPI has an extensive portfolio in waste management and transport, noted as Australian distributors of Western Star trucks and MAN buses.

It was the trucks and buses that the group of years 10, 11 and 12 engineering students from Runcorn High came to see, and to hear about career options in heavy vehicle repair and maintenance, as well as warehousing and logistics.

Organised by TPI National Qualifications Coordinator Jason Stewart, with support from MAN’s National Bus General Manager Mark Mello, and Mt Gravatt Bus Lines General Manager Skye Naismith, the tour of facilities went smoothly, and left students with clear options for the future.

TPI had previously escorted school groups through its Brisbane waste management facilities, but this was the first group visiting the Brisbane Truck Centre at Rocklea and the Parts Distribution Centre (PDC) at Wacol.

"It’s the biggest group so far, and we couldn’t handle many more at one time," says Stewart.

The Truck Centre connection with Runcorn High precedes the recent field trip with TPI already recruiting an apprentice from the school, and hosting eight students on work experience working across diesel mechanics and warehousing.

"We’ve been doing a work experience program with Runcorn High for over a year now and already employed one person, and another about to be employed.

Mark Mello says the introduction to the TPI sites show students the opportunities that exist in the commercial vehicles industry.

Transportation from the school and between the centres was supplied by Mt Gravatt Bus Lines free of charge on the day in contribution towards the community engagement program.

Stewart says the truck and bus industries are not just about driving.

"There are many parts of the transport and logistics industry that people don’t see that keep these vehicles running," he says.

And it was those ‘other parts’ that students were introduced during the visit, covering sales, human resources, and management functions, plus a look through the mechanical side at the Truck Centre, and the large scale and scope of parts supply and interpreting at TPI’s expansive and state-of-the-art parts distribution centre.

The students were accompanied by TPI staff trained in occupational health and safety, and at all times kept between the yellow lines.

It was explained to students that the operations they were visiting were multi-million dollar enterprises, and that it was important not to disrupt the flow of work at each of the sites.

And given the exuberance of adolescence, all 46 students kept well within the rules, but were given an opportunity – which many took – to climb over and inside a large Western Star rig at the entrance to the Truck Centre.

Stewart was pleased with how the field trip went.

"We hope to get more schools approaching us, and give students the experience of what working in industry is all about."

Schools interested in getting involved in the program can contact Jason Stewart at Transpacific Industries on 07 3367 7800 or check the website at www.transpacific.com.au.

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