Drive for milk tanker jobs

Call for drivers gets good response

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 16/06/2014
Luke Lloyd-Forrest
TRUCKING ON: Luke Lloyd-Forrest has worked his way up the ranks of truck driving with the support of his workplace, Hilton Haulage.

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Another recruitment push for milk tanker drivers is proving a success in South Canterbury, despite earlier reports of a driver shortage.

Hilton Haulage, which is contracted to the Synlait and Oceania Dairy plants, has received a "strong" response to its latest call for more drivers, human resources general manager Alle Laing said.

The country has a shortage of tanker drivers, but the Timaru firm is working on improving that situation, she said.

To do that the company is encouraging people to register their interest, no matter how much time they have had behind the wheel.

"We can offer different opportunities for new people coming into the industry," she said.

"[We've said] come and talk to us if you've got lots of experience or none at all. We're very interested in talking to people who might have all their tickets, but not everyone has the experience."

In some cases, drivers could be allocated smaller trucks to increase their experience before progressing to bigger trucks, including milk tankers.

She said although the company could not employ everyone on that basis, it was prepared to help a select few.

"Where we are able to, we are certainly keen to bring people into the industry, training them up and upskilling them."

The company is looking to fill about 20 milk tanker vacancies for the upcoming season. So far, it has up to 60 on its books, confirmed for the start of the season.

For its latest recruitment drive, the company has gained interest from people throughout Canterbury, including Ashburton, Christchurch, Timaru and Geraldine.

"We also have the odd application from Australia and further afield."

Laing said the calibre of applicants was pleasing.

However, there was still some way to go in terms of filling all those positions, she said.

Fonterra launched a recruitment drive for milk tankers last month, with the prospect of filling 65 vacancies.

However, it could not comment on its progress because it was in the middle of the recruitment process, Fonterra Clandeboye depot manager Chris Win said.

Clandeboye is one of the region's largest employers.

It employs about 840 staff, including 212 truck drivers, over three shifts.

COMPANY SUPPORT 'OVER-THE-TOP GOOD', SAYS LUKE

Luke Lloyd-Forrest is indebted to his workplace for helping him move up the truck driving career ladder.

Lloyd-Forrest, who drives for Hilton Haulage, arrived at the company with a class four learner licence. Now he has a class five full licence, allowing him to drive a range of trucks, including milk tankers.

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That progress is the result of a foot in the door, further training, and continuing experience behind the wheel.

He came to the company with agricultural experience, including tractors and harvesters.

Lloyd-Forrest said the support he had received had been great for his career.

The company had been "over the top good", he said.

Within his first two weeks with the company he was signed up with Pro Driver Training so he could work towards his class five licence. He also spent that time as a passenger, getting to know some of the runs.

Since then he has driven most makes and models available in the company's Washdyke yard, including freight liners and curtain-siders.

- The Timaru Herald

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