Barker Trailers’ AFIA win highlights industry passion

Original equipment manufacturer, and third-generation business, Barker Trailers, received the ‘Investment in People’ Award at the Victorian Transport Association’s 29th Australian Freight Industry Awards (AFIA).

The annual awards event, recently held at the Palladium at Crown, Melbourne, attracted 700 leading freight operators and delegates.

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Barker Trailers has been manufacturing semi-trailers since 1974 in the Loddon Mallee region and has production sites in Woodend and Maryborough. Brothers, Arthur and Ernie Barker started the business with a passion – to build great trailers with great craftsmanship for great customers, all underpinned by great people.

Over 10,000 trailers later, the passion remains. Through the ups and downs of family business, in a challenging yet rewarding industry, Barker trailers continues to invest heavily in people and its passion for craftsmanship.

Focused investment in safety, skills, diversity, leadership and partnership has seen Barker not only survive but also proudly strengthen.

“It truly is an honour to be recognised among industry peers for our investment in people, who are – by far – our most valuable asset,” said Barker Trailers CEO, Simon Meadows. “Congratulations to the team at Barker Trailers, and thanks also to the Victorian Transport Association, who do a wonderful job across the industry.”

Deakin University looks to recycling skills

University graduates trained in sustainability, resource efficiency and waste management have valuable career opportunities according to a Deakin University environmental science researcher.

The news follows the introduction of the National Sword policy in China, which has disrupted local recycling markets.

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Deakin School of Life and Environmental Sciences lecturer Dr Trevor Thornton said the skills have emerged as career-winning qualifications on modern resumes.

Dr Thornton said there had been a major shift in the perception of waste management, with a new growth industry of experts now being employed to review organisational sustainability and waste action plans.

“The person responsible for waste management at an organisation used to be the cleaner, now we have sustainability managers at the executive level of major companies,” he said.

“More organisations and businesses are recognising the value of having a concerted sustainability plan and employing people with the skills to implement it.”

Dr Thornton said candidates with sustainability skills also stood out in other roles, particularly given the current national conversation about plastic bag bans and recycling issues.

“No matter what career path someone is undertaking, the issue of waste management gives them another string to their bow,” he said.

“Sustainability is a life skill, and the benefits aren’t just environmental – they can also help a business’ bottom line and perception among consumers.”

Dr Thornton said an understanding of regulatory controls, waste auditing techniques and minimisation methods, emerging technologies, clean production, municipal waste laws, and sustainability strategies would only become more valuable as resource management and waste issues continued to exacerbate.

“Whether you’re working in a lab, a factory, a retail business, city council or on a construction site, having the skills to recognise waste management issues and introduce sustainable alternatives makes you a very valuable employee,” he said.

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