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Driver training in the North received a boost when Fonterra officially handed over a decommissioned milk tanker to NorthTec’s commercial transport department.
The tanker was blessed at a special ceremony held at the Future Trades Centre in Dyer Street, Whangarei.
NorthTec kaumātua, Hohepa Rudolph, welcomed officials from Fonterra, NorthTec, other stakeholders and students, and performed the blessing of the new “waka”, naming it Uruao. The name means “tail of the scorpion” and refers to one of the first great ocean-going waka, which carried people between islands.
In return, NorthTec Chief Executive, Mark Ewen, presented Barry McColl, Fonterra’s National Transport and Logistics Manager, with a carved wooden paddle.
Mark Ewen said: “We are concentrating on outcomes for our stakeholders and making sure we deliver on those outcomes. It isn’t always easy for us to have the right resources to deliver for all our stakeholders, but now we have a truck and trailer for the next three years.
“It is a very generous investment in us – it’s an investment because we need to be producing more drivers from our region and employing more drivers in our region. It’s an investment in us to deliver fully trained drivers back to the industry for the next three years and beyond.”
Barry McColl said: “We’re really proud to be able to support initiatives that help develop communities and give back to the regions where we operate. These are the communities that our farmers and our people are part of, so being able to help out with resources that bring new opportunities is important to us.
“Here in Northland there are lots of young people who are seeking employment, and we hope this truck gives them a tool that they can use to gain experience and a springboard into a new career.”
Darrin Rhodes, Fonterra’s Regional Transport Training Manager for the North Island, said the company had often discussed the shortage of drivers in the industry, and decided to work with polytechnics to address the issue, providing the trucks to enable driver training. He presented Mark Ewen with a model of the milk tanker and trailer unit, in acknowledgement of the new partnership.
The tanker, which is now on long-term loan to NorthTec, will be used for training for students earning their Class 4 and Class 5 Truck Licences. It can also be used for completing driver competency tests and assessments, and other training opportunities like safety inspections, mechanical inspections and truck safety days.
The tanker handover was initiated by Keith McGuire, Regional Executive for the Road Transport Association NZ (RTANZ), and came about through discussions with Barry McColl and NorthTec’s commercial transport department. Uruao is the third tanker and trailer unit loaned by Fonterra to tertiary institutes in New Zealand.
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