It’s widely acknowledged in the road transport industry that the two major issues affecting its ongoing prosperity, are driver shortages and the lack of quality technicians to properly service and maintain heavy vehicles.
Addressing the vehicle maintenance issue, educational facilities such as Melbourne’s Chisolm
Institute, are playing their part in keeping truck and bus workshops running by providing fresh young talent to the industry.
Among Chisholm’s many automotive courses is a Cert III in Heavy Commercial Vehicles (truck and bus), which prepares students for a career as a technician – it’s an extremely popular course and one that’s been aided by the recent purchase of a new Iveco ACCO 8x4 cab chassis.
Overseeing the course and ensuring that teachings are kept up-to-date with the latest industry requirements is Chisholm’s Senior Educator for the Automotive Technology – Supply Chain Management School, Damien Bitzios.
“There has been considerable change in truck and bus technologies in recent years, and course materials are regularly changing to reflect the industry’s progression,” Mr Bitzios said.
“A large part of the course requirements is vehicle diagnostics covering areas such as common rail diesel engines, electronic stability control, ABS braking systems, steering, transmission, suspension and other areas.
“The ACCO is well-equipped with the latest technologies and also features American engine and automatic transmission, which are a popular combination in the truck and bus industry.
“Another attractive specification feature of the 8x4 ACCO is the rubber block suspension – it will be interesting for the students to see how that works.”
Mr Bitzios said that employer and customer expectations of new technicians has changed dramatically in only a few short years.
“The days of mechanical apprentices spending their first year with a broom in hand sweeping out the workshop are well and truly behind us,” he said.
“There’s an expectation now that they can make an impact from the outset – if they’re conducting even minor work, the assumption is that they can identify potential problems and faults that could affect the vehicle later on, and then report this to the workshop manager or foreman. Communication skills are very important, not just for interacting within the workshop, but also with customers.”
As a leading provider of mechanical-based courses, Chisholm Institute has enjoyed strong relationships with Iveco and other industry suppliers, for several years.
“The support we get from Iveco and the other industry partners is excellent – they provide us with resources that help our students diagnose the vehicle along with workshop manuals; they’re also readily available should we have any questions or issues,” Mr Bitzios said.
As of about 18 months ago the collaboration between Iveco and Chisholm was further strengthened with Iveco approaching the education provider to devise a Cert III specifically tailored to suit Iveco’s manufacturing workforce.
To date over 30 Iveco manufacturing staff have participated in the course with the company recording notable improvements in the quality and efficiency processes of its vehicle builds. The majority of the study was conducted during business hours.