Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship Update

The proposed establishment of an apprenticeship for heavy vehicle drivers is a response to industry’s call to professionalise the occupation and address driver shortages across Australia in the medium to longer term by creating career pathways for a younger, more diverse workforce. It will also facilitate improved driving skills for the safety of those working in the industry and all other road users.


Since the Transport and Logistics Industry Reference Committee (IRC) released its November 2021 Communique supporting the concept of an apprenticeship for heavy vehicle drivers, a schedule of engagement and consultation with the states and territories has been employed. This activity has focused on building awareness of the benefits of an apprenticeship in relation to professionalising the industry and determining the extent of support for the concept in each state and territory.


On behalf of the IRC, Australian Industry Standards has maintained continuous engagement with industry while consulting with State Training Authorities and their corresponding industry advisory groups in each jurisdiction to progress the processes required to establish an apprenticeship.

Status Update for each state and territory

  • Tasmania – Apprenticeship (established 10 Feb 2022) The Heavy Vehicle Driving Apprenticeship has been declared in Tasmania and is now available for implementation and can be accessed on the Skills Tasmania website
  • Northern Territory and the Australian Capital Territory – The declaration of an apprenticeship in each of these territories has been agreed to ‘in principle’. To progress the apprenticeship in each of these territories, consultation is underway with Registered Training Organisations to improve access to accredited training through funded mechanisms.
  • Queensland – On 1 September 2022, Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT) has approved the industry proposal to establish a Heavy Vehicle Driver Apprenticeship in Queensland. Information on incentives, costs and financial support for both employers and apprentices can be found on the on the DESBT website
  • Western Australia – The WA Office of the State Training Board (OSTB) has received a submission from the Logistics and Defence Skills Council (LDSC). The OSTB is now in the process of considering the submission to ensure that it meets all relevant requirements.
  • South Australia –  The SA Transport & Logistics Industry Skills Council (T&L ISC) has been working hard to establish a case for the apprenticeship which is under discussion with the SA Skills Commission. With strong support from the Transport Industry in SA, the apprenticeship proposal is progressing well with a positive outcome likely.
  • Victoria and New South Wales – The application processes in Victoria and New South Wales are progressing incrementally with industry engagement and consultation underway to determine support for the apprenticeship by the respective industry skills advisory bodies.

What Industry tells us...

Hear some of the views on the heavy vehicle driving apprenticeship at recent industry events:

  • Steve Marley – Owner, Marley’s Transport WA
  • Bob & Sharon Middleton, Managing Director, Whiteline Transport, SA
  • Paul Kahlert – General manager, All Purpose Transport (APT), member, QTA
  • Steve Shearer, Executive Officer, South Australian Road Transport Association
  • Marianne Kintzel – Executive Officer, The Refrigerated Warehouse & Transport Association of Australia (RWTA)


Hear Mark McKenzie, Chair of the Transport & Logistics Industry Reference Committee, respond to some of the more common questions on the value of the proposed apprenticeship.


Mark responds to these questions:

  • Is there a general consensus amongst stakeholders that an apprenticeship will provide longer term benefits for the heavy vehicle transport industry?
  • What are the real advantages of a heavy vehicle driving apprenticeship to the Transport Industry?
  • Will an apprenticeship work with younger drivers and the current age or experience-based licensing progression in all states and territories?
  • In reality, are employers prepared to take on young apprenticeships?


The journey so far...

As a response to a call from industry to professionalise the transport industry, in August 2021 the Transport & Logistics Industry Reference Committee (IRC) tasked Australian Industry Standards (AIS) with determining the merits of establishing an apprenticeship for the heavy vehicle driving occupation and subsequently eliciting the extent of industry support through broad industry consultation.


To facilitate this work, a Consultation Paper was circulated to industry stakeholders and a national webinar delivered with a view to assessing industry support for the apprenticeship proposal. The extensive industry consultation indicated broad and strong support for the apprenticeship proposal while also identifying the potential challenges.


With the overall positive response from industry, the IRC issued a Communique on 1 November 2021, supporting the concept of a heavy vehicle driving apprenticeship. The IRC Communique discussed the positive nature of the feedback received throughout the consultation process and articulated the next steps in the professionalisation journey.


Following the Communique, the T&L IRC recommended AIS proceed with activities to identify any further implementation challenges and start early engagement with State Training Authorities (STA) and the corresponding industry councils or advisory bodies while continuing to consult with a range of transport sub sectors, insurers, regulators and licensing bodies.


In December 2021, the outcome of this further consultation and engagement confirmed the IRC’s commitment to initiate processes to establish a non-mandated heavy vehicle driving apprenticeship where feasible in collaboration with the State Training Authorities and their industry advisory bodies. AIS has maintained an intensive schedule of consultations with each state and territory revealing a range of application requirements and processes for each jurisdiction.


Updates on progress of the apprenticeship model in each jurisdiction can be found at the top of this webpage.


Klausch Schmidt

Director of IRC Operations


Email: [email protected]

Phone: 03 9604 7223

Mobile: 0417 568 967



Ron Horne

Industry Skills Manager - Rail & Transport and Logistics




Email: [email protected]

Phone: 03 9604 7232

Mobile: 0448 166 536