“People remain a challenge for us at MaxiTRANS, as they do for everyone else,” said Dean Jenkins, MaxiTrans CEO and Managing Director, when PowerTorque sat down with him to talk about how the trailer business is travelling. “I think that we as an industry have an issue with mental health. We do a lot of work with our people around RUOK Day, and we’re pretty passionate about it.
“We’ve got a job problem, positively, we have got 10 per cent females in our workforce. This means we are only actively sourcing people from 50 per cent of the population. We are putting in place recruitment programs which might help us identify and train some suitable females and grow this percentage within our business”.
“Recruiting a diverse work force is only half the job, because if you have a bad culture, one which isn’t inclusive and diverse, then you lose them again. Our short-term initiative is about the cultural piece. We are running a series of programs around inclusion and trust. To us, a trusting workplace is a much more inclusive workplace.”
There is no point in going to market to find an inclusive work force, if the current workforce isn’t ready to accept any people, male or female from diverse backgrounds. Ensuring the organisation is ready to receive new people is the first stage of the program.
One of the initiatives already in train is a Certificate ll program, set up as a welding camp over a number of weeks. Young people can come along and have a go. Then if they enjoy it, they can apply for a job. These programs are already attracting a more diverse group of hopefuls than the conventional recruitment strategy.
The students learn to weld, building a trailer, in a safe environment. This program has been running for a year and has had some success, identifying people who have the right mind set to train up into the skilled workforce. This runs alongside longer-term relationships with the schools and universities, especially in the Ballarat area close to the main MaxiTRANS manufacturing plant.
Queensland Expansion for MaxiTRANS
A new 14,303m2 facility at Carole Park, in Ipswich Queensland has been officially opened by the Queensland Deputy Premier Steven Miles. The new site adds to the MaxiTRANS’s existing Australian manufacturing footprint across Metropolitan and Regional Victoria.
“The new Carole Park facility is an exciting expansion for MaxiTRANS which will provide greater safety, flexibility, efficiency and quality outcomes for our business and our customers,” said Dean. “Designed to match the equipment levels and standard processes available at Ballarat, Carole Park will provide greater capacity to the MaxiTRANS Group and will allow us to continue to better serve our customers with the ability to cover any total market growth.”
“The existing manufacturing site in Richlands predominantly produced bulk transport trailers. This new facility has the ability to also manufacture Freighter product too, allowing us to diversify our manufacturing capability.”
The existing workforce is anticipated to double, with the current 70 staff moving to the new facility and up to 70 new operational jobs expected to be created over the next five years. This creation of up to 70 new jobs owes thanks to Queensland Government support as part of Unite and Recover, an initiative designed to support Queensland jobs and industry through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“With the help of the Queensland Government, we have a new facility that gives us more scope and flexibility to expand our Australian manufacturing capability, as well as further bolster our after-sales support here in Queensland,” said Dean.
The new facility will also open up opportunities for local TAFEs and universities to work with MaxiTRANS to provide specialised in-house training and skills development programs.