Kal Tire breaks down barriers for trainee technicians

Kal Tire team members ensure all necessary tyre maintenance is performed while a haul truck is in the bay.

As a registered training organisation, Kal Tire is investing in its next wave of tyre technicians, preparing them with the knowledge and skills required to work in this role, while diversifying the industry.

Traditionally, recruiting experienced and quality earthmover tyre fitters has been a challenge for the mining industry.

Kal Tire’s registered training organisation status enables delivery of quality training and qualifications that are nationally recognised, helping facilitate the growth of its business and improving access and quality of new team members.

This approach allows Kal Tire to train new recruits to the highest standards, with safety always at the forefront of all their learnings.

Internal training within the company also allows Kal Tire to familiarise new recruits with the workshop-based training and mentoring from an experienced team.

As Kal Tire’s training coordinator Nigel Watson explains, this allows trainees to connect with more experienced members of the team to learn on the job, as well as the theory component of their course.

“Most of our trainers and assessors are part of a team in the tyre bay, so if we can find level-headed, eager new team members and pair them up with an experienced trainer, we can recruit people with minimal previous experience and put them through a first-class training program,” Watson tells Safe to Work.

“This has enabled Kal Tire to expand its workforce in line with the growing tyre management business.”

Kal Tire’s training program teaches new recruits how to safely complete the tasks of a tyre technician, consistent with the current industry processes and applying the company’s most up-to-date tools and equipment.

With the training taking place in Kal Tire workshops, they become familiar with their teammates, equipment and the protocols of Kal Tire as a company and their site.

“As all training is done at their appointed own site, using familiar tools and equipment, it is a huge benefit because it gives students that familiarity while they’re starting to learn the trade,” Kal Tire human resources manager Dominique Kesler explains.

“Another big plus is majority of the time the trainees are residential to the area, so there is that initiative of supporting local communities, which is a big part of our aims for Kal Tire.”

Trainers are also able to pass along feedback to Kal Tire’s upper management to continuously improve the training programs.

Two Kal Tire tyre technicians inspect tread depth on a tyre on site.

 

“Given Kal Tire’s global and national reach, we’re really well positioned to identify best practice when it comes to tyre maintenance,” Kesler says.

“Kal Tire is able to prepare reports for customers which identify opportunities for them to improve safety and optimise performance.

“By implementing these recommendations, not only are the team members performing to a higher standard, the tyre bay is functioning more safely and efficiently.”

Kal Tire’s training has already proven to improve and maintain high safety standards at Australian mine sites.

“A huge success story for us is a Kal Tire mine site bay in South Australia, which is quickly approaching 25 years of no lost-time injuries,” Kesler says.

“That site is our largest in terms of team members and trainees. The vast majority of that team started their career with Kal Tire in a trainee role at that site, which speaks volumes.”

As well as improving safety on site, Kal Tire’s training program is helping the company to create a more diverse industry, recruiting groups who may not have previously had an opportunity to work as tyre technicians in the past, such as women.

“In the past, tyre fitting has been a very male-dominated industry so finding experienced women is almost impossible, they just haven’t had that opportunity to enter the industry,” Watson says. “It allows Kal Tire the opportunity to create a much more balanced workforce.”

Kesler adds that Kal Tire has already attracted and retained female tyre fitters in trainee roles in Western Australia, Queensland and South Australia.

She says breaking the barriers to diversify the industry is really exciting.

“We have had several women come on board in traineeship roles and what is great for us is we’re able to grow and diversify our team,” Kesler says. “It is exciting to offer that opportunity that wouldn’t have been there before.”

By providing new tyre technicians from all backgrounds and experience levels, Kal Tire is rolling out a new wave of workers in the heavy tyre maintenance industry, while providing the training, knowledge and skills to keep them safe on the job.

“We are extremely proud to be a registered training organisation and with that, our ability to improve and maintain a high safety standard within the industry,” Kesler concludes.

This article also appears in the Jan-Feb issue of Safe to Work.