Australian schools are being adopted by an unlikely parent. Not by Madonna or Brangelina, but by the Transport and Logistics industry.
It might sound like an unusual arrangement, but it’s definitely proving to be a beneficial one.
The Adopt a School Program gives employers (in a skills-short industry) access to an energetic group of talent while also giving the next generation of workers a practical opportunity to learn more about the sector.
Local businesses join forces with schools, so students can obtain real experience, learn about career opportunities, find out about the types of skills employees are looking for and build networks to ease the transition between school and the big wide world of work.
The program works in two ways. One sees a student spending one day a week onsite with an industry employer while obtaining a T&L qualification.
The other stream involves students doing an apprentice by spending two days a week as an employee of a company while completing Year 12.
Students can work across warehousing, waste management, marine, freight forwarding, aviation, road transport and furniture removals.
‘Adopt a School provides the industry with a strategy to meet future skill needs, gives employers access to a diverse talent pool and allows young people to gain hands-on experience’, Queensland Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said at the launch of the program this week.
‘It also showcases how effective partnerships between government, industry and the education sector can produce skilled young workers and trainees.’
It seems schools and businesses alike are jumping on board, with the number of schools with Transport and Logistics trainees growing from just two in 2006 to 200 today.
‘When we first started this program, we would present to schools and students, and they would have little understanding of the industry and what it has to offer’, says Sky Collings, the Acting Director of Industry Capability, Department of Transport and Main Roads.
‘Now, schools are knocking our doors down to be involved. They have seen the success of the program – and what dynamic career opportunities are available.’
The $63 billion transport and logistics industry employs five per cent of Australia’s workforce and with that number set to double by 2020 there are plenty of job opportunities on offer.
‘We still have the retirement of the baby boomers and the economic recovery ahead of us’, says Collings.
‘This is not the time to wind up, it is the time to ramp up. We need to increase the profile and professionalism of our industry. A career in transport and logistics can rival the traditional professions.’
With the help of the government, the Adopt a School Program has also been adopted by the agricultural, food and broadcast industries.