Simon Bennett of blue-collar recruiter AWF says NZ almost entirely lacks consistent and efficient pathways for school-leavers, the unemployed and the low-skilled to train on-the-job and gain the necessary basic skills to be able to adapt to survive

By Simon Bennett*

Bernard Hickey asks (in the Herald on Sunday, republished on Interest.co.nz) “Why aren’t Kiwis getting jobs?”

It’s a good question. At the same time that, as Hickey points out, 349,700 New Zealanders are jobless or underemployed, companies involved in the Christchurch rebuild, the current Auckland building boom, and massive upcoming projects such as Wellington’s Transmission Gully are crying out for more skilled workers – and bringing them in, as blue-collar recruiter AWF has been doing for some time, from overseas.

It would be easy to characterise this phenomenon as simply a temporary labour market mismatch – a failure to steer enough of those wanting work into training which would have equipped them to supply the current very high demand for construction-related skills.

There’s some truth to that. We could scarcely have planned for the Canterbury earthquakes, but the major Auckland and Wellington projects have been on the drawing board for many years – although some were postponed because of another unforeseen circumstance, the GFC.

But what may appear to be the result of poor planning and natural disaster turns out to be, on closer inspection, part of a major, global economic, technological and demographic shift.

It’s not only the trades and civil construction sectors that complain about a lack of appropriately skilled Kiwis.

A tourism operator bringing in high-end visitors from the US recently complained his customers weren’t getting much of a “Kiwi experience” because many of the tourism and hospitality staff they met here weren’t Kiwis. That prompted Tourism Industry Association CEO Chris Roberts to point out that there was “almost a systemic problem that working in tourism and hospitality is not seen as a career option for young New Zealanders.”

Immigration New Zealand has - on both its immediate and long term skill shortage lists - agriculture and forestry, engineering, health and social services, and science.

And companies are hiring from overseas workers with specific, often digital, skills which are in high demand globally but short supply locally, such as user experience (UX) managers and 3D designers.

The fact is, the forces of globalisation, the technological advances referred to as “Industry 4.0”, and demographic change are creating a two-tier market around the world.

The pay gap between low-skill workers and those with transferable, relevant and updateable skills continues to widen.

In a New Zealand context, it seems strange that we’re looking to import workers in agriculture, forestry, and tourism, three of our largest economic sectors.

In such a fast-moving labour market environment, it’s a brave call to predict what skills exactly will be needed here in 10, or even five years from now.

What’s certain is that we almost entirely lack consistent and efficient pathways for school-leavers, the unemployed and the low-skilled to train on-the-job and gain the necessary basic skills to be able to adapt to survive.

Better mechanisms could look something like AWF’s Te Mana Whakaaro programme with Te Puni Kokiri, which has been training and upskilling young Maori in civil construction for the last three years. Thanks to TPK, we’ve had no difficulty finding candidates who can see that the training they receive will launch them into satisfying, well-paid careers.

Partnerships between industry, recruitment firms, and ITOs are another promising route, and bear further investigation.


*Simon Bennett is CEO of NZX-listed AWF Madison, New Zealand’s largest recruiter and labour provider.

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83 Comments

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You have to help School Leavers - the issue here is if no one helps them then they will have little chance of succeeding. Someone needs to explain to them what 'is important to employers' and generally give them coaching in order for them to confidently apply for jobs, attend interviews (give the right answers) and ultimately succeed in securing roles and proving their worth. A friend of my son had a chat with me and the poor boy was enthusiastic and motivated but had absolutely no idea how to sell himself to get a foot in the door - after helping him with his CV and a letter of application he got an interview and then after a few "mock interviews" he had a job and to say he was thrilled would be an complete understatement! A lot of the kids also have real issues believing in themselves because no one has ever believed in them, many think because they are not good academically then they are failures, all they need is a little help to realise where their area of interest/skill lies and they will go on to reach their full potential.

I also wonder what the true "Kiwi Experience" is that tourists are really looking for, I'm a 7th generation 'Kiwi' but my ethnic background is Maori, Croatian, French, Spanish, English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish and so the list goes on...

Would help a bit if some of them went to school consistently in the first place

Where did apprenticeship go?... Companies don't want to invest into brining up young people, but willing to pay to someone from overseas with experience..

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Jenny Shipley ended them. Another success for National.

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Parents and Teachers setting their kids up for failure in many cases. We aim low in this country across the board unfortunately by our own definitions of what is "success". We need innovators, we need designers, we need hands on people with practical trade skills of all kinds. We don't need more landlords and speculators but.....that's all we hear about and its constantly paraded as a success story. It's not. It's the complete opposite. I see companies like Space X doing great things with young people. What are we telling OUR kids to inspire to? And of course we have a weak kneed pathetic government that doesn't give an actual toss backed up by a large population of NZ that does not give a toss.

I consistently enjoy reading your posts justice. Thank you.

Thank you. I just try to be honest and pull no punches. I'm not here to gloat or brag or pretend.

This may come as a shock to you but many, many landlords have the day jobs you describe. I know 4 guys that have between 4 and 6 houses, padding the nest for retirement. They worked hard as teenagers doing apprenticeships building infrastructure for Breweries, Pharma and dairy factories and are still working in their 40's and 50's. Why do you hate them so much? They won't be a burden on society when they retire. I think its admirable.

I honestly don't understand why Justice's comment would get so many upvotes. I'm a landlord but I just finished some work now at 10pm with technicians in Shanghai. A little earlier I was painting kitchen cupboards in one of the rentals after a full day's work. I would give up on Kiwis if thought they were all like him, always expecting the government to nanny them. If Justice had his way landlords would be driven out into the countryside and the people living in their cars would be given decision making positions in government.

I know why, there are loads of 20-somethings that feel they deserve a cheap house with a BMW out the front on 1/4 acre on this site. I get the pain and anguish, Ive been there myself! No one promised anyone anything. I know the sacrifices I made and continue to make. Its not easy.

If you are landlord, then why are you painting your own kitchen cupboards. Are you not a Lord?

I never made the term "landlord" up. Same a "civil servant". Are they really servants?

I never said you made the term up. Refer above.

Are you not a Lord?

I see what you are getting at there as I have been an advocate for neo-feudalism. I should start practicing what I preach but it is surprisingly hard to find painters who will do small jobs in Auckland.

It's not a competition Zac! Jezz and yes I don't believe you actually get NZders like me at all. All that reading and spiritualism you go on about on here yet you fail to grasp culture. NZ is still a socialist country Zac, maybe a great deal less than when I was growing up, but still it's there. I intend to make sure it stays for the benefit of all who actually care more than just about themselves.

NZ is not officially a socialist country. It is more of a free market welfare state. This reminds me of a conversation I had a few years back with a Chinese immigrant. He said, "New Zealanders have built a great society here but the welfare cannot last. Too many people will now take advantage of it and it will be unaffordable". I believe sustainable welfarism is dependent on demographics. It relied on NZers being trained from birth to follow the unwritten rules around how you handle it.

"New Zealand is still a socialist country". Justice - I think you need to get out more. That's not a socialist country - this is a socialist country:

"Venezuela is the great failure of the western hemisphere. A large, seemingly wealthy, apparently modern and resource-rich country, only a three-hour flight from the US, is on the brink of economic and political collapse, financial default and, potentially, a humanitarian crisis.

A lack of basic goods and medicine has led to protests and lootings. Shortages of foreign currency, prioritised to pay overseas debts, have forced a 40 per cent drop in imports in the past year, according to estimates by Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Oil production is falling and power shortages have cut the government’s working week to two days. Inflation is forecast to top 450 per cent this year, and almost 2,000 per cent next, while the economy is shrinking at a rate of 8 per cent — its third year in recession. How much longer can this sad state of affairs continue?"

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/9da7038e-1ced-11e6-a7bc-ee846770ec15.html#axzz...

Venezuela is your example? A country constantly trying to be hi jacked by the U.S., Three attempted CIA coups and an assassination attempt? Wow. That's the best you can come up with as a socialist country in its purest form which I never claimed NZ was. But the fact remains, we are a socialist country as defined by having a welfare system, ACC is a socialist concept, free doctors visits, gold cards.....etc etc. Even the U.S. has socialism! Medic Aid, Social Security, the U.S. Military runs on socialist principles in its infrastructure. So spare me the lecture.

Yes Venezuela would be working just fine if it wasn't for the CIA... amazing what lame excuses people come up whensocialism fails. Again. How caring of the CIA to make Chavez daughter the richest person in the country. Maybe she is the mole! Helping poor people isn't socialism. Poor people have been helped long before socialism was dreamt up. The only people socialism helps are "important" people - Chavez daughter for instance. Do get out more.

You need to get a bit more yourself or at least read a bit more: your post was a bit incoherent. Venezuela is a failed state not because of socialism but because of cronyism, kleptocracy with a bit of assistance with the meddling by the US in South America. Anyway what do you mean by socialism?

Zachary Smith, To explain, the upvotes, for "Justice", the upvotes indicate sarcasm, as the ungrammatical, irrational rants, are humorous and entertaining in their pathetic internal incoherence. They amuse people,its a smirk vote? "JUSTICE" Ironically demonstrates, the exact issues that his polemic attempts to address,in his own person. It has entertainment value.

JimmyH. Trying to understand your comment has tied my brain in knots. Plus, it's not humourous, it's humorous... If you are going to be pretentious, at least do a spell check.

Yes, i suppose big bunny, that rabbits are intelleftually challenged creatures

I thought your comment was good!

nailed it

None of you lot get it. You're busy putting Justice down but in sentiment at least he is right. Profile Venezuela is not a socialist country, Chavez was a communist in denial about the realities of communism and all about his own power. I believe Justice is right at least in part NZs socialist history where we did not let people fall to the bottom is still an ideal. However that principle has been hijacked by so called Rogernomics but which are actually Milton Friedman's economic theories, and they are causing huge imbalances. Greed and the "I'm all right Jack" brigade have taken over. This simply proves that balanced regulation is required.

School leavers not equipped for work - the consequences of Lange tinkering with the school system saying "no one should fail" (he was going too far to the left) and Governments no longer supporting apprenticeships and a well employed work force. A fallout of Friedman's theories and globalisation (going too far to the right).

Justice is almost a Bolshevik. What you guys don't understand is that things have changed irreversibly. Your quaint socialist notions are a product of a unique historical stream that many others no longer share and will only exploit. It relied on people doing the right thing without being explicitly ordered to. This was possible through intense training from birth and a shared national myth. To achieve it now would require draconian measures like forcing people at gunpoint to rent out their mansions for $200 a week.

Socialism is awesome Zack. I saw a lady in South Auckland on TV the other day have the gaul to complain she was living in a 2 bed flat, with a dog, 3 adults and 5 kids! Count them, 5! (youngest 5 weeks old) . She invited the TV crews in and expected everyone to feel sorry for them. That might work on the bleeding heart liberals but it sure doesn't work on me. If socialism is so alive and well in NZ how come the right have been in power for 9+ years? Commies can go do one as far as I'm concerned.

It is a matter of degree. I don't think you can have a society without some degree of socialism even just shared facilities like libraries or police protection but the system in NZ is more welfare state where equality in opportunity and a high level of individual liberty prevails over controlling everyone's actions. This means that people can make mistakes and suffer somewhat from the consequences.

You are correct Zac. Balance is required. In some areas we go too far to the left, in others we go too far to the right. Socialism is a necessary part of regulation. To argue that the world has irreversibly changed is wrong. It is never irreversible, the question is just how much harm are you prepared to do? Chavez destroyed Venezuela and it will take years to recover. Gradual movement, but across a number of spheres, for example getting people off welfare is all well and good, but there has to be the jobs for them that are worth going to. Kids should be coming out of school with an expectation of getting a job, not a hope. there is a difference, but the "new" economics mean that for many that is not possible, so the best many can aspire to is welfare.

Whether its left or right you certainly need a strong, credible opposition to keep the other side in check. I've seen whats happened in the UK with a left so unelectably radical the right feels it can punish its own base and have no fear of being voted out. That helps no one.

ObeseBallerina. I guess I must be a bleeding heart liberal. And I just thought I had empathy.

If you cant feed em, don't breed em. No sympathy from me at all.

ObeseBallerina. Any sympathy for the kids?

Of course, they are going to grow up to be statistics in one way or another. This is no good for any tax payer.

If school leavers are not equipped for work then who's fault is it? Equipping children for the future is a parents job and responsibility......people who transfer those responsibilities to the state are the problem.....part of being a parent is presenting young adults into the world who can be independent and capable.

The attitude of the parents has the biggest influence on children.

Not at all..the biggest influence is from ones peer group and that is why we collectively are all responsible. To push all the responsibility back onto the parents (or one parent) is an abdication of your responsibilities to the society you live in and gain benefit from.

So if a peer group told you to jump off a bridge would you follow? People are individuals who make a collective....the individual has to be independent in thought and action to be fully responsible......society benefits from this independence........menacing cultures have throughout history caused irreparable damage to those on the receiving end because the group functioning mentality was unleashed. Society can only benefit if the individual is fully independent. You are advocating State control over individuals by deeming that society is responsible!!

I have raised 3 adult children....they are strong and independent....not from some peer group influence but from parents who put much effort and care into the production of them......explaining and supporting your children through the process of they are not their peer group but an individual is part of good parenting. If we followed your peer group concept then women would still be getting dragged by their hair back into the cave!!

Ohh look, another wee online bully. Try playing the ball and not the man as Bernard says. You obviously don't have anything constructive to add. I see this quite a bit on this site and it appears to be tolerated also. Have I got that right Ed ? Pretty much the same posters all the time also.

Pot, Kettle, Black...

You feeling bullied Zac? Evidence?

Spending your days on interest.co.nz promoting your landlord business is not classified as work OB...or do you get a tax deductible for your broadband by claiming it to be part of the business model?

What system we had has been screwed by the civil servants. Apprenticeship notably. It all became generic 'education' with no recognition of a specific skills. Apprentices were looked after really well, not that they knew it, as you gave them a very testing time. For their own good, they were really challenged.

Our tertiary training is too skewed to the higher end. A fair chunk of struggling , indebted uni students could be better served doing industry training -preferably as apprentices under our tried and tested, co-operative shared business funding model. They will earn as they learn. Kiwi trained locals cost more than imports, but provide a more sustainable long-term investment.

in my day it was simple the brightest got their UE then bursary and that decided how much the state would help and depending on being bright enough what you could study for at university i.e BA or doctor.
next level down may have got school cert and or ue but went into the trades and back then the biggest employer of apprentices was the state, MOW, railways,telecom,air nz.
what was left went into unqualified vocations, drivers, retail staff, clerical.
now everybody can get a loan and go to university whether they have the ability or not.
there only small pockets taking on apprentices normally its family or friends of family.
the whole system has been turned towards lets send everyone for higher education, forget the trades we can import them.

Sharetrader I quite agree, university is not for everyone, and it is unproductive to tell people they will automatically get better jobs if they(over) qualify and just end up with a student loan and no job.
In the old days you did get something approaching free Uni study , but soon got kicked out if you did not pass your units; these days they just want you to keep paying enormous student fees for many years regardless of outcome, or likely outcome.
I suspect that mostly you either shape up or ship out academically at school, and it is over-PC to decree that everybody should get a "free" loan to go to "partake in the knowledge economy"
IIRC the free student loan scheme was another pre-election Labour bribe that has turned into a sacred cow

I don't think there is a skills shortage as such, rather the identification and distribution of skill is not really there.

- An individual can tell you what they like to do.
- An individual can tell you what they want to do.
But it is very hard for an individual to tell you what they are actually good at, or what they should actually do.

How do you fix this?
Pretty easily - just look at sports. They actively identify talent and then provide all sorts of support (Financial, guidance, training, etc...) to the individual to ensure they excel at a particular sport. This is done via Clubs, schools, and professional sporting bodies. In essence the Sport contributes to the individual to the benefit of both parties.

There are some companies that do this overseas (probably not a co-incidence that they tend to be held in high regard)

So the question that should really be asked is - Why don't Kiwi companies/schools actively identify talented individuals and support and encourage them into certain careers?

Groucho Marx has already answered your question.

"I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member."

"Never speak disrespectfully of society, Moa Man. Only people who can't get into it do that."

Oscar Wilde.

Sounds a bit Fascist, we can't have that. Why should talented individuals get all the breaks?

The harder they work the 'luckier' they get. That kind of 'break' is very hard too stop Zac ...

So many of the young aspire to the celebrity of a Kardashian with all the glitz and glamour but without the hard work that goes with it.

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Apprenticeships as they are run in Europe and maybe once were in NZ, are described here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dual_education_system . Can someone inform resident genius Johnno?

Just an amazing sequence of events.

1. Abolish the apprenticeship system.
2. Squeeze out locals from higher education by charging ridiculously high fees.
3. Identify a "skills shortage" and bring in people mostly from dictatorial countries that will do anything for a visa.
4. Tell people they are selfish, hateful racists, if they mind 1. - 3.
5. Sell the remaining substance, i.e real estate to whoever comes along, money launderers welcome.

May I extrapolate?

6. Declare New Zealand an official province of the PR China.
7. Abolish culturally unacceptable rascist systems like democracy and division of power.
8. Crack down on and deport remaining racists.

Sigh, never again a "very Pakeha" riot at AKL council meetings. Well done, boomers!

I quit my trade back in the recession of the late 80's. With 3 kids I was financially better off on the doll. It wasn't so much that there was no work, it was that engineering is always on the immigration list. Successive governments favor engineering trades for immigrants, in fact its been like that since Rob Muldoons think big projects, it keeps the pay rates down. My son did the 1 year polytech pre trade coarse along with 26 other boys, 11 months after completing the coarse he was the second person from his coarse to get an apprenticeship just before the poly-tech had another 20 odd boys to find jobs for. If employers are allowed to employ immigrants ahead of training youth they employ an immigrant, there in business, there not a social service. What happened to all the other kids who did that coarse who now have a student loan to pay back?

I've mentioned this before but I'll mention it again, when I was first looking for work I would often hear the refrain, "no one owes you a living!". This always seemed wrong to me. The young natural born citizens should be owed the opportunity to earn a decent living as a first priority. Anything left over could then go to selected migrants. It should be like, we will promise you a living in return for your loyalty (which should be an unstated truth). The reaction I felt when I heard them say this was fu every man for himself now then eh?
It probably led to the notion that you could import the best man for the job as you don't owe the locals anything.

I'm a classic example. Go to university they told me. So I did. I graduated with an accountancy degree. Applied for jobs I did. All rejected I was. Apparently I needed experience before they would give me a look in. Catch 22. And apparently they only want the top graduates. Average grades like mine are not good enough. So 4yrs wasted doing a degree. 15years to repay the debt with the majority of that time charged interest on the loan. If I had my time over again I would have just done a 1yr certificate in business. How many others are in my situation? Its a total scam. Be wary

I am surprised to hear this. I thought there was a shortage of accountants.

No there's way too many accountants and lawyers trained relative to the open positions. There are lots of institutions training hundred more people than what are required in numerous fields. When there's too many graduates employers can pick and choose.

This has been the case for my whole working life, law and accounting was still limited entry in the late 80s and even then less than a 20% of graduates ended up finding work in what they trained for.

These days a defining feature of third world countries is a mass of unemployed university graduates.

the strange thing is, you could have got a job in a accounts department without your degree , then studied on the side, taking the last year off, come out with both a much smaller debt and experience. and even if you go back to working in a accounts department it wont take long to move up. this never gets explained to the young that employers are looking for work history.
most young I talk to now I tell them to go work for mcdonalds or burger king or whoever when at school so they have a work history we they go for the interview

You cannot expect to walk right in unless you are in the top bracket. However, pick a job in an organisiation at a lower level that does also employ accountants or lawyers etc. Gain some real knowledge at ground level on how the organsiation works..suck it up as a mere low level employee for a year or two. You are then well placed for those professional jobs when they come up......and will have some real appreciation of what really mkaes pepole and organisations work well (unlike the ones who were the 'top' pick).

Quality Guy - I have to ask did you only apply for jobs in accountancy firms?

.

My son is doing it hard. He is a 19 yr old - living in Auckland. Surprise surprise he has work ethic - always turns up on time, works hard for $17.00 per hour labouring. Is reliable and has a brain (hasn't decided what he wants to do long term yet.) but is struggling to find work.

He gets annoyed that many of his work mates on the job site earn the same while trying to figure out where they can hide from the boss for the day. However, while job hunting lack of experience is thrown in his face endlessly - recruiters have little interest in pushing a business to give him a go. He has done a Wheels track and rollers course and a forklift course.

Then I see employers on TV complaining that they can't find someone like him so choose foreigners. Not all young ones expect a free load - just a chance, there is a huge lump them all in the same boat attitude.

It wouldn't surprise me if NZ employers unconsciously favour immigrants because they believe it is morally right or will want to err on the side of diversity. A good 80% of people in my workplace are immigrants. Modern corporations are very much into open borders and following the latest fashions - even have motivational posters on the wall promoting diversity etc. . Immigrants themselves are immune to this and will often favour their own in their businesses.

I'm afraid the reasons are immigrants are cheaper, and will not be so fussy on conditions,places to work, as whatever they get here will be vastly better than where they came from.

Dragonlass...is your son applying for work through these job agencies? Job agencies only interested in taking their cut off employees.......your son might be getting paid $17 per hour but job agency might be charging your son out at e.g. $30 per hour.......

Yes job agencies, totally agree on what he is likely being charged out at - he applied for some jobs directly from seek - but most of the time did not even get a response. While I appreciate the volume employers get, it would take half an hour to cut and paste a 'sorry not this time' message to the 80 or so applicants via return email.

I also agree that there is a lack of connection from school into your first job. We all know how daunting it is applying for jobs anyway as a school leaver. There is A LOT of information on the internet, and an endless number of recruiters - so many you don't know where to start... and each one of those applications takes time.

He is currently in construction, messy dirty work, hard physically and long hours 6 days per week. While he is not afraid of hard work - he is struggling to see where it will end and where it could lead. He is worn out at the end of each day making it hard to job hunt. He went door knocking at the local supermarket and was told they only recruit through head office. It does not help that he still does not know what he wants to do ... no point in going to uni for the sake of it - as already attested on this blog.

Things have changed so much in NZ. Having a 'multicultural' workforce policy is a primary goal for some organisations to the detriment of many NZders (whatever their race). Previous work for a global corp and seeing the policy, I know this is a fact.

I agree with you on the lack of good manners.....it is an area where NZ is severely lacking.

Perhaps your son could make up a short and to the point resume.....and then do a search via the internet of builders and get in touch with them personally.........anyone who is pestering for a job wants to work and as keen to work in my mind.....so make sure he does a follow up call to any prospective employers in a month or so.

I think people can get hung up on the immigrants taking all the jobs issue.....people in business just want someone who is keen and willing if a person has these attributes you know you can teach them anything as they want to learn and excel......

I think what young people have to learn is that they are individuals they are their business......so what they put out they get back.....business doesn't employ a collective it employs the individual so anyone wanting employment has to standout in some significant way........the individual has to make himself/herself the product.......

I am sure it will all work out in the end - but it is a harder road than it used to be. It' ll put hairs on his chest...

Nostradamus predicted that the turn of the century would see the world at the best it would ever be - in terms of worldwide health, wealth, production, opportunity etc. Sadly I can see that being true. How's that for a gloomy ending to the day LOL

Construction industry is full of tradesman who are cowboy businessman. My lad is 17, got himself a job, turns out he is expected to be a contractor, 15 an hour, no holiday pay, pay his own acc levies. It's a joke. I spoke to his boss about the law and how he is outside of it.... He had no idea of the risks he was taking.

The bad news quality guy is that the businesses that didn't employ you and give you a chance to solidify your studies in the workforce will have probably employed immigrants with the experience they wanted. Now you can compete with them to buy a house and for space on the roads and for your birthright to enjoy being a NZer.

Several times I have heard the Road Transport Association bleating on the radio about the shortage of drivers. And beyond that they intensively lobby government to bring in immigrant drivers. But no surprise - they won't pay more.
Clearly if they paid just $5.00 per hour more there would be a line up of New Zealanders offering to work for them. Good people who just want a good consistent job.
So it puts up costs to the companies, and perhaps to their customers. But that's realistic. Further those increased wages will filter into 'the economy'. Better than helicopter cash in my view.

its a dying industry that will be solved in the next 20 years by driverless vehicles even cheap immigrant drivers will not be needed
http://www.cnbc.com/2016/05/17/otto-a-start-up-by-ex-googlers-to-make-tr...
http://techcrunch.com/2016/04/25/the-driverless-truck-is-coming-and-its-...

Well yes in 20 years. I am going to assume then that you fully agree we don't need immigrant drivers now.

i agree drivers are under paid for the crap they have to put up with,long hours, log books, DG endorsements not to mention the couple of grand to even get your license.

If truck drivers were not paid adequately the country would grind to a halt over night. The UK was hours away from melt down during the fuel strikes a few years back. Most hospitals only have about 2 days of oxygen and most towns would be out of food by mid afternoon if truckies called it a day. I recall getting cut off in small town NZ a few years back due to overnight flooding. By 3pm most essentials were out of stock - even the staples like KFC. Thankfully the pub had adequate supplies of beer to see us through.

Only 2 days oxygen (liquid or bottle) would be extremely unusual, but then I have not been a hospital engineer in 20 years.

think not myself.

Agree.