Jason Atteridge - Transport Trainer And Assessor
“It delivers everything - There’s not much in this country which hasn’t been on the back of a truck. In the media, we cop a lot for a few bad incidences. There’s a lot more behind the industry than public perception at the moment.” Jason Atteridge, a trainer and assessor for trainees entering the Transport industries, shares what’s involved in his work, and why he’s so passionate about the industry.
Jason is a Workplace trainer and assessor. “I train everything from light vehicle’s to multi-combination vehicles. I licence people for different vehicle categories. I train people on fatigue management and go to transport companies, and train people in the traineeship scheme up to a Cert III in Road transport . I teach people all sorts of modules. We also do Forklift training – everything related to the transport industry.”
“I’m essentially part of the business arm of Wodonga TAFE, we’re the National Industrial Skills Training Centre.” who delivers anything from one-day first aid courses to week long truck driving courses says Jason .
“For example, if I had a one week driver course, [on the first day], you’d prepare the safety aspects and risks involved in the vehicle. You’d do a powerpoint presentation on road law, how to drive the vehicle, and what’s involved. You do theory until lunch. After lunch, we give them an introductory drive. We tell them what’s expected of them on test day on Friday.”
Then, Jason takes them on a quiet road, getting them to drive on a low traffic road. They get familiar with the size of the vehicle, and compare it to a car.
“There are two other theory sessions of 2 hours each [in the week. I can cover things like] defensive driving techniques. On Wednesday, we’d do a session on load restraint. We look at duty of care about restraining a load, how to tie knots, how to recognise and use load equipment. It goes for two or three hours. The rest of the week is practical.”
At the training centre, they have four students to one trainer. Seats have been put into the truck where there is usually a sleeper compartment , so all four students are in the truck at once, observing the process.
Jason has been a training assessor now for 18 months. “I got to the stage in my life, where I have a young family, I wanted to spend time with my young kids, I thought I’d give something back tot the industry which treated me well and became an instructor.”
“Before that, I was an interstate truck driver, for 14 years, more or less. Prior to that I started my apprenticeship as a diesel mechanic.”
“I sort of [did the apprenticeship] as a means to become a driver, because I got involved with my Uncle’s company – I spent my school holidays travelling around in trucks. I did a trade apprenticeship. I worked 12 months in my trade as a diesel mechanic , then I went into driving.”
“I was fortunate to have good people around me who shared their information. It’s a blokey industry, where you’re discouraged to ask questions, because you feel weaker, because you look like you don’t know things. It’s better to ask questions, and take your time. You need to be patient, or you may as well not do it.”
And because of this experience, Jason can draw on all of this for training others. “Now I have an idea of the scope, from driving, through to management.” If he gives a company advice on how to improve, it can be drawn from what knows.
He worked for his last transport company for ten and a half years, then, with the assistance of the office ladies, he drew up the OH and S policy. He then did worked out the Fatigues Training and dealt with the insurance company. “I had that managerial experience then, and now I want to develop my skills.” Jason is now undertaking a diploma in Logistics.
“I’ve always enjoyed transport. It’s not for everyone. It’s not what people think of you from the outside. It’s always said to be an industry full of cowboys. Twenty years a go it may have been that way. Companies are now more professionally run than their peers in society give it credit for. A lot of people try to do the right thing.”
And, in the end, Jason loves looking after the industry that has looked after him. “I’ve always had an interest in trucks. The reason I got into driving is freedom. Get out and about and see the country. It’s easy to go down the road and never see anything. I’ve been down roads I know some people will never see.”
The best part of the job?
It’s great passing on the skills I’ve gained and making a difference. If you’ve given someone something, you’ve made a change. It’s hard if someone gets nothing out it, nothings going in, then you haven’t made a change. I like working with people.
The hardest part of the job?
The system can be a bit frustrating – we’re on the New South Wales and Victorian border – working two systems, which had anomalies, such as heavy vehicle licence testing,compliance and that can get confusing.
What personal qualities are needed for a trainer or assessor?
Experience. If you don’t have the background or experience, it’s pretty hard to pass the knowledge on. It’s easy to study a book, but unless you’ve done it, you can’t express it. Every situation is different in the job.
You need to be patient. Not everyone learns at the same rate and you may have to adjust the amount of training by their rate of learning. Give constructive criticism – it takes some people longer to learn. Don’t make [students] feel uncomfortable and intimidated behind the wheel. If they become nervous, they’ll have doubt about themselves. And that isn’t good when someone’s driving!