All Purpose Transport recognised as Employer of the Year

Warehouse workers at All Purpose Transport.

All Purpose Transport (APT) has been acknowledged with a Large Employer of the Year award.

The recognition came at the Australian Training Awards for their exceptional training program ‘Project APT’.

In the 11 years since it was launched, Project APT has helped more than 500 employees and owner-drivers to achieve formal qualifications.

Back in 2012 APT identified it had an ageing workforce that needed revitalisation.

A fortuitous meeting with a representative from the Department of Transport and Main Roads in Queensland set the wheels in motion, leading to the creation of a comprehensive training program with TAFE Queensland.

“We were presented with an exciting opportunity, and we realised we could elevate our entire workforce,” said Paul Kahlert, All Purpose Transport CEO.

The initiative now known as Project APT was launched to attract and retain talent during a mining boom in Queensland.

With an average worker age of 47, APT created a training program for skills development and marketing, given truck driving was perceived commonly as a second-choice career path with high turnover.

Last year the program achieved a 70 per cent retention rate among owner-driver contractors.

APT has over 110 operational and administrative employees along with more than 260 owner drivers operating small vans through to B-doubles.

A significant percentage of the workforce comprises migrants, including refugees who have gained formal qualifications.

Communication, especially with non-native English speakers, was an initial hurdle that APT overcame with comprehensive training methods, including one-on-one sessions and multimedia tools.

The company also made strides in diversity, notably in operations and warehousing roles.

While driving positions remained male-dominated, other areas saw a more balanced gender representation, attributed to technological advancements and the shift in required skill sets.

Women now account for about 40 per cent of the operations team, marking a significant demographic change.

Belinda Polglase, APT’s Head of People and Safety, is one of the growth stories within the organisation, which has since gone onto interstate expansion, having risen up the ranks herself.

“It’s not just about work skills. It’s about personal growth,” she said.

“The training has helped our staff in life, fostering goal-setting and financial management, which, in turn, has strengthened our workforce community,” said Polglase.

APT’s extensive fleet now features 14 electric vehicles, making it one of the first transport companies to introduce battery electric trucks for large and bulky home deliveries in Queensland according to Kahlert.

“We now have 14 electric vehicles undertaking over 10,000kms each week,” he said.

“We’ve created better people and, consequently, a better business.”

All Purpose Transport wins Employer of the Year.
Belinda Polglase [middle] and Paul Kahlert [right] accept their Australian Training award.
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