7 Steps To Become A Truck Driver In Australia
Truck driving jobs are often associated with reasonable, steady pay and long, hard working hours. Truck drivers are responsible for transporting important, and often, expensive cargo. Without truck drivers, trade wouldn't exist as it does today in Australia. Being a truck driver is a good career choice for many men and women across Australia. Here are steps showing you how to become a truck driver in Australia.
Step One: Know what you're getting into
First decision should be; “Why do you want to become a truck driver?” Have this question answered in your mind because it will come back to haunt you if you are not sure.
Driving out on the open road sounds exciting, but truck drivers must be open to driving weekdays and weekends for most of the year. Long hours and a lot of time away from home can strain personal relationships. Ask friends and family if they know any truck drivers. Try to speak directly to a driver either in person or chat with someone online. Understanding daily life is critical to success. If you cannot be away from your family for more than one day, truck driving life is not for you. Discuss what you've learned about the possibilities with your family before you jump into trucking headfirst
Step Two: Check out general requirements for truck drivers
You need a Light Rigid Driver's License or higher to drive most commercial trucks in Australia. Before a Light Rigid license is possible, you must have one year under a 'C' Class license with no violations.
Safe driving patterns are critical for future truck drivers. Evaluate your personal desires when it comes to machinery. If a truck breaks down, for example, you should be comfortable with simple mechanical repairs. Keep in good health so you're able to perform any necessary repairs on the road. Towing a broken truck for a simple fix costs the trucking company a lot of money.
Basically, a truck driver needs:
– an aptitude for mechanics
– to enjoy practical work
– to be physically fit
– good driving skills
Step Three: Type Of Trucking Industry
Once you decide that you want to drive a truck, evaluate different industries. Each business model requires a slightly different experience level and training. You can haul items, such as cement, rubbish, timber and livestock. Become a Heavy Haulage driver for oversized loads transported down local highways. Even become a tow truck driver to help people in need. Other industries need your expertise as well, including tilt tray, road train and Haulpak companies. Your choice of industry is a personal one, making it a top priority before becoming a truck driver.
Below are different types of truck drivers:
– Cement Mixer Driver (Drives special truck that mix concrete to prevent it from setting before reaching construction sites)
– Compactor Driver (Rubbish Collection) (Collects rubbish and bulk rubbish collections from on-the-verge pick up)
– Haulpak Driver
– Heavy Haulage Driver (Drives large trucks or trailers to transport oversized loads, frequently accompanied by pilot vehicles that notify other road users of the oncoming heavy haulage vehicle)
– Livestock Haulier (Carries livestocks, usually farm animals such as sheep and castle, to farms, abattoirs, and ports)
– Logging truck driver (Transports timber from plantations to timber mills)
– Road Train Driver
– Tilt Tray Driver
– Tow Truck Driver (tows vehicles that have broken down or been in accident)
As you see, there are various types of equipment and occupations that you might want to consider. Each one has its own specifications you must become familiar with. Just to say, “I want to become a truck driver” is only a beginning to many years of experience.
Step Four: Be Prepared for Working Condition
Detailed log reports are a daily job of any truck driver. Petrol amounts, driving hours, accident reports, fatigue breaks and mechanical breakdowns must be noted in a log. Date, time and duration are critical points to list each day for normal business administration. Deliveries are typically interstate, making each day long with early morning drives and possible late nights.
Each day, drivers must check the truck's vital fluids and mechanics for a safe trip. Water, tires, electrical systems, oil, brakes and tires must be inspected and checked for any problems. Keeping yourself and others on the road safe is a main priority.
A truck driver can be expected to work irregular hours, make early starts and spend days away from home making deliveries all over interstate.
Before beginning a trip, paper work is required to be filled out correctly. The truck driver is also required to maintain a log book detailing hours of driving, fatigue breaks, petrol consumption and reports of accidents or any problems with the vehicle. In addition to this administrative work, a truck driver needs to check brakes, oil, tyres, electrical systems, water, hydraulics and air, prior to each trip.
Step Five: Check out Salary Details
A Light to Medium Rigid truck driver makes between $35,000 and $45,000 each year, or $923 to $1121 per week, according to 2006 ABS Census data. Heavy Rigid or Combination truck drivers make considerably more, such as between $50,000 and $70,000 each year, states the Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council. The range varies greatly based on the industry and your overall experience. Heavy Rigid truck drivers with several years of experience often make the higher rates because of their safe track record.
Truck Drivers can expect to earn between $923 and $1121 per week,* or between $35,000-45,000 per annum** for a truck driver (Light Rigid to Medium Rigid vehicle) and $50,000-70,000 per annum** for heavy rigid or heavy combination trucks, depending on experience and type of organisation.
*ABS Census (2006)
** Transport and Logistics Industry Skills Council
Step Six: Prepare Tools and Technologies
Truck drivers use road relay systems to maximise petrol use. For example, a steep terrain matches with a specific truck speed to keep petrol use low while allowing the engine to work efficiently. The cargo's positioning in the truck plays a large part in petrol use as well. Familiarise yourself with ropes, straps, tarpaulins and moving equipment, such as pallet jacks, to adjust your cargo as needed. Loading and unloading is often your job at each destination.
GPS, or Global Positioning Systems, help you find your way. Try to use a GPS unit before entering the trucking industry. Experiment with all the features to be comfortable with the technology. Drivers and companies use the GPS data for accurate deliveries and the progress management.
Step Seven: Get Education and Training Required
If a company wants to hire you, they can train you on the job, referred to as traineeship. You are paid a specific amount for living expenses as experienced drivers and supervisors mentor your education. Training organisations, called TAFE, also provide traineeships if the company cannot afford to have drivers stay in and train at the main facility. If you are in trucking school when you are offered the traineeship, it is possible to apply for an early dismissal to concentrate at the employer's facility.
Formal education is not necessary for truck driving, but it gives you an advantage over other applicants in the industry. Aside from proper licensing, take a Transport and Logistics (Road Transport) class full time at Pilbara TAFE (Pundulmurra Campus). You'll receive a Certificate III that verifies that you are proficient in freight record-keeping, moving stock and special loads, and occupation safety and health.
After your full time class, you can go to school part time and sign up for a traineeship sponsored by your campus. Your school should have a VET Coordinator that works with local companies for a smooth employment transition. Also look for any specialised classes offering supplemental licenses, such as hauling dangerous substances. These drivers are in high demand and are often paid well.
Talk to your school's counselor about previous training classes or experiences. You may have had a successful truck driver in the family, for example, that taught you critical skills. Schools usually have tests that can verify your skills to help you move through the curriculum quickly and fairly.
Becoming a truck driver is a major decision for any person. Following key steps to gain experience and schooling helps you succeed in the trucking world and secure lucrative driving positions. Talk with your family about any concerns they have about your future career. Because of the unusual hours, you and your family must decide if the separation is not detrimental to the family unit. A truck driver has a rewarding career with a supportive family.
Written by Phillip Gruppelaar