Jack, 20, is living the dream
MOST people don't believe 20-year-old Jack Wingfield when he says he drives B-doubles. But he whips out his phone, shows them a couple of photos and they eat their words.
The young driver might not have many years of experience under his belt, but being a truckie was all he ever wanted to do so he worked hard to make his dream come true.
Both Jack's father and grandfather were truck drivers, so he said it was only natural that he wanted to be one too.
"All I ever wanted to do was to work in the transport industry,” he said.
"I suppose when you grow up around them and in them, it gets stuck into you. Being a truck driver, it's a lifestyle, it's a freedom. You're on the road all day, it's a quite enjoyable career choice and I couldn't see myself doing anything different.”
He said he wasn't sure his family had wanted him to follow in their footsteps, but he said "someone has to do it” and he was proud to be one of those people.
Jack works for James Transport in Mildura and he's been a driver there since June.
He got his start in transport after working as a nurse in aged care for two years - "my dad wanted me to go out and get a qualification before I started working as a truckie” - after getting his heavy rigid licence before he turned 19.
He drove for an earthmoving company, carting dirt and bitumen among other things for 12 months, before he sat for his B-double licence earlier this year.
Unfortunately, the company he was with didn't drive B-doubles, so he started to look for something else.
Luckily, James Transport, was keen to put on a young driver and Jack started driving for them in June.
He mostly does local work transporting general freight and citrus fruits, sometimes taking a load out to Adelaide or Griffith.
Jack said his colleagues were all great to work with and he learnt a lot from all of them.
"Everyone is there to work with you and try to make everyone's lives as easy as possible,” he said.
"They're willing to teach be things that I don't know and answer any questions that I have.”
Jack said he'd highly recommend trucking to anyone who was interested.
"It's something that you've got to have a passion for, it's not something that you'd just go and do because it's a hard job. The hours are big and it's a fair bit of hard work,” he said.
"People think it's just sitting down steering a truck - that's the furthest thing from the truth.”
As a younger driver himself, he said one of the hardest things he faced was the negative attitude from older drivers.
"I see more older truck drivers giving young drivers a hard time,” he said.
"I've still got to display P-plates and on a truck that looks kind of funny. I'll be out on the highway or driving around town and they'll be remarks on the UHF. But I don't let it bother me.”
He said he thought the transport industry was going well, but one thing that he said he'd like to see happen was an apprenticeship for young drivers or people who wanted to learn the ins and outs.
"Make it more of a profession, not just a job that you get a licence for and then get in a truck, I'd like to see it as more of an apprenticeship that you study - that you learn about management, work diaries and things like that,” he said.
"That would make it easier for transport companies to employ those younger drivers.”