WHEN it comes to providing transport workers with the right skills to do their job, look no further than Alpha Truck and Training.
The business, which was founded by MEM Removals co-owner Stephen Bertoncini in 2014, originally arose out of a need to ensure his truck drivers had the best possible training and competency.
Alpha director Elaine Bertoncini said the couple identified a clear need for high quality training in the Far North transport industry.
“There’s a lot more to driving a truck than just getting in and turning on the ignition,” she says.
“A lot of people who get their truck license don’t know how to fill out a work diary for long distances, manage their fatigue, deal with weight restrictions or how to plan a route if they’re driving a B-double.”
Stephen, a former mechanic by trade who has operated heavy vehicles and machinery for more than 30 years, has thrived in his training role and loves seeing his students take their skills to the next level.
“We’re now in our third year of business and it’s going great. Our student numbers continue to grow,” Elaine says.
“Stephen is a hard task master and will persevere until he is completely satisfied they are safe to be on the road.”
But truck driving isn’t all that’s taught at Alpha.
The company also handles training for a forklift license, handling dangerous goods, fatigue management strategies, completing a work diary and load restraints.
Indeed, it’s that comprehensive approach which Elaine believes sets Alpha apart from its competitors. They work closely with Cairns Regional Council, Main Roads and several private transport companies offering flexible training packages.
“With truck and forklift licenses you need to be aware of all your safety requirements before you’re out on the road,” she says.
“It’s all about being competent. You need to really know what you’re doing and that’s where the industry’s changed.”
“You can never have enough training or refresher training because people get complacent.”
Alpha isn’t slowing down any time soon either and is hoping to expand the scope of training offered in other areas such as chainsaws, tree felling, working in confined spaces and earthmoving machinery tickets such as excavator, skid steer (bobcat) and front end loader.
“There’s real skill shortages in the area and we would like to help increase employment opportunities for all ages, especially in youth unemployment. You can get a forklift licence at the age of 18 and you’re never too old to learn how to drive a truck,” Elaine says.
“We are definitely branching out and the more people get to know us and use our services, the more I think we’ll continue to grow.”
Photos by Silvia Mogorovich