Toll honoured for longstanding contribution to youth employment
For the last 20 years, Toll Linehaul and Fleet Services (TLFS) has done more than provide essential maintenance support for Toll’s domestic forwarding fleet in Australia; it has also helped to change the lives of countless young people who have completed apprenticeships in its workshops and gone on to build successful careers.
Working with leading Australian group training organisation Work Place Connect – which places apprentices in a variety of industries to complete on-the-job training and gain experience – TLFS’ Victorian operations have the opened their doors to apprentices every year since 1995, offering placements in one of two workshops in Altona North.
Each year Work Place Connect hosts an annual awards night to celebrate the achievements of recently graduated apprentices who have demonstrated excellence in their on-the-job performance and studies. The evening also shines a spotlight on the host employers that work alongside Work Place Connect, recognising long-term service and the positive impact the organisations have in relation to upskilling young people to prepare them for the workforce.
This year the teams at both TLFS facilities in Altona North were recognised for a collective 35-year contribution to youth employment – one of which has taken on apprentices for 20 years, and the other for 15 years – during which time the business has maintained its dedicated commitment to vocational training for young people in Victoria.
The hands-on approach TLFS takes to apprentice learning was called out as crucial to the ongoing success of the apprentices who complete work placement in their workshops. Each apprentice is encouraged to obtain as much practical experience as possible to complement the theory they learn during their studies.
The majority of apprentices hosted by TLFS are training to become automotive and diesel mechanics; each on is paired with an experienced Toll mechanic and receives one-on-one mentoring to learn and practice new skills. Rather than tasking apprentices with basic non-mechanical duties in the workshop like cleaning and running small errands, TLFS ensure the majority of each day is spent ‘on the tools’ so the apprentices can practice the core skills of the trade.
TLFS Workshop Manager, Phil DeBono, has personally mentored apprentices for 15 years at the site he manages in Altona, Victoria and says that the key to successfully preparing budding mechanics to enter the workforce is establishing early on that they’re ready to take on the responsibility and willing to be guided by their mentors.
“We need to see if the apprentice is a good fit for the workshop, just like the apprentice needs to be sure that they really want to work with us. But more often than not, they stick with it and go all the way – the majority of the young people we work with move into employment with Toll at the end of their apprenticeships.
“This is beneficial for everyone; the apprentices gain qualifications that enable them to become part of the skilled workforce, and Toll reaps the benefits from the investment it makes in training these young people to become professionals in a range of roles.”
In addition to mechanics, TLFS takes on apprentices for a range of administration roles at their sites in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and has been recognised consistently at Work Place Connect events over the years for the quality of training its apprentices receive.