Westar Truck Centre Derrimut, one of the largest commercial vehicle dealerships in Australia, operates a well constructed apprentice programme that benefits both young people and the dealership itself, by ensuring the highest levels of expertise and product knowledge are maintained to service what is an increasingly sophisticated product.
Operating since 2015, the programme has around ten percent of its 152 workforce employed as apprentices at any given time, with a yearly intake of around 8-10 personnel, with a high proportion of these subsequently taking permanent long term employment with the group.
An extended range of Certificate based apprenticeships are available, including Heavy Commercial Vehicle, Trailer, Electrical and Air Conditioning Technology courses. In addition to the service oriented courses an Automotive Sales (Parts Interpreter) course is also offered.
Apprentices also have the opportunity to obtain specialist licenses in areas such as truck and forklift driving, dangerous goods handling and first aid.
Westar is part of the Patterson Cheney Group with branches at Derrimut and Campbellfield. Their support of apprentice programs was recently reinforced with the company pledging to support the ‘Apprenticeships for all Victorians’ initiative in conjunction with’ Apprenticeships Matter‘ who currently provide end to end support for all Westar apprentices.
“Apprenticeships Matter is a government organisation that recognises the importance and necessity of companies putting on apprentices in a growing
Australian economy where skills and knowledge are paramount. The Apprenticeships for all Victorians initiative aims to create an additional 50,000 Australian Apprenticeships and Traineeships by 2020,” said Patterson Cheney’s Technical Training Manager Chris Fauvrelle.
The quality and success of Westar’s apprentice program is evidenced in the awards that a number of apprentices have obtained.
In 2018, first year apprentice Joshua Borninkhof was one of three outstanding apprentices who joined delegates at the Australian Trucking Association’s 2018 Technology and Maintenance Conference (TMC), thanks to scholarships from Cummins South Pacific. The scholarships are designed to recognise outstanding apprentices within the heavy vehicle industry. Joshua was selected having demonstrated a great understanding of his trade and having the proven technical skills to move on to big things.
In April of this year, Westar received confirmation that one of their apprentices had secured a spot to represent the Southern Region (VIC, TAS, SA) at the HVIA National Apprentice Challenge to be held at the forthcoming Brisbane truck show in May.
James Greig, from Westar Derrimut achieved a score of 123 out of 141 which earned him 1st place nationally. Kai Lamont- an apprentice Auto Electrician also from Derrimut scored 120 out of 141 points to place 3rd nationally. The event attracted a total of 70 apprentice entrants from across Australia.