With Palmerston North a major shipping centre for goods around the Central North Island, there’s plenty of driving work to pursue.
The biggest barrier to former refugees and migrants moving into this line of work isn’t willingness, but accessibility. Some haven’t studied formally before, and that’s where ELP’s course helps – particularly as misunderstandings of the law around worktime, driver fatigue and logbook recording can result in steep fines!
Through a combination of Google and good luck, teacher Sam Hopkins connected with John Marcus, owner of Truck Training and Licensing Services (TTLS), who was keen to help and to give back to Palmy’s community.
“There is a shortage of truck drivers, and learners can hopefully gain a career path out of it, contribute to society and their own wellbeing,” says John.
Ten learners, originally from Afghanistan, Myanmar, the Philippines and Bhutan joined the class and formed a tight bond.
Sam developed and delivered the English courses which prepared the learners with the language skills necessary. From these classes, 10 learners went on to work with Francious Nel, a contractor for TTLS with the technical knowledge, towards getting their unit standards and class 2 endorsements.
“The language barrier can make things tricky,” says Francious, “but with perseverance from all sides and a lot of laughter, we made it work.”
One of the learners, Eh Taw Bo Thaw, says that when he came to New Zealand he had “zero English, zero skill. He found the course very helpful. “I believe I can improve another step for my future,” he says. “So I’m really, really happy.”
Hafizullah Abdul Chaman, another learner, wants to thank TTLS and ELP. “They worked well together and helped us to get our licences,” he says. “It’s a good opportunity for people who can’t afford to pay. I really enjoyed the class, yeah, and it’s one of my achievements in New Zealand. Now I’ll move forward to get more licences.”
As Francious puts it: “The more we can give them the tools to go out there to excel, the better.”
English Language Partners provides unique support for New Kiwis. We have a wide range of programmes to help with the English needed for everyday life, work and study here in New Zealand. We have 22 centres nationwide. Talk to us today!