More firms take on driving students

National 2 minutes, 52 seconds

BELAIT

FIVE local companies have signed on with the Youth Development Centre (YDC) to take on students of heavy machinery driving for work attachments.

Aziz Latif, Serikandi Group of Companies, Suasana Mentari Engineering Services, Megalift and Sahid accepted driving students into their companies for the first time earlier this year after agreeing last year to become strategic partners for the heavy machinery driving course.

With the additional five companies, the total number of companies affiliated with the course is now 21, said YDC’s Acting Assistant Director Haswandi Hj Osman recently.

He added that the strategic partnership extends to the companies having the option to offer posts to these students upon graduating.

Sahid’s head of human resources, Muhammad Faiz Hj Shaminan, said the four students attached “performed well” in the company, operating a range of heavy vehicles from hydraulic truck mounted cranes to 50-seater buses.

“We signed up because we do have posts for heavy vehicle driving which can be taken up by locals. In the oil and gas industry, it’s not often that you see locals man trucks, and we’re keen to be partners with organisations who are seeking to change that,” said Muhammad Faiz.

He said the company is still reviewing which graduates are to be offered jobs and noted that there is still room for improvement amongst the young drivers.

“Heavy vehicle driving is not an easy task, so we are looking for those who are committed to learn and better themselves. Drivers typically have to be up early, remain alert and always need to operate the vehicle safely,” he added.

Out of the 23 students who received their training completion certificates on Tuesday, seven have already received full-time employment offers.

Logistics company MOC is the biggest recruiter, welcoming four drivers into their company last week.

MOC’s head of human resources, Hjh Huda Zakiyah, said the recruitment bumps the local drivers in their company to eight, representing over 40 per cent of all driving employees.

“For us, it’s significant progress, as previously, the post of drivers was dominated by foreigners. We and the industry struggled to find locals,” said Hjh Huda.

MOC has already submitted their requests for another four drivers from the next heavy vehicle driving intake. Hjh Huda also said that while local drivers are gradually replacing their foreign counterparts, a few expats are still needed to carry out special deliveries which require at least four years of heavy vehicle driving experience.

“Our long-term succession plan is to retain these local drivers to the point that they have all the per-requisite experience needed to carry out any delivery. Until then, we will still need a few foreigners, who can also help with training the newer drivers,” she said.

The seven students who formally accepted their employment offers were ready to get busy proving themselves, but others were still weighing their options.

“Right now, I’m looking for the most suitable offer for me, which means factoring the distance, a consideration if the offer is from a company from a different district than my home in Brunei-Muara. I also have to factor the vehicles I’ll be driving and the salary offered,” said 35-year-old Hjh Norhafeza Hj Yusop, the sole female in the fifth batch.

Heavy vehicle driving graduates leave with driving licences in the class 4, 5, 6, 2 and 11, with several courses certified by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents embedded in the curriculum as well.

The Brunei Times