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by Tim Beissmann

Toyota Australia is today launching the first phase of its ‘DRIVE’ program designed to help employees prepare for their futures after the company ceases manufacturing in 2017.

During the first stage of DRIVE (for ‘dedicated, ready, individual, vocational and energised’), employees will have access to information about other industries, attend a career day and receive referrals for financial services and other assistance programs.

Employees will be able to visit DRIVE centres at the Altona manufacturing plant and Port Melbourne head office over the next four years to speak with case managers about their future plans.

The program is being funded by the company and is a key part of its long-term strategy to assist its workers to retrain and reskill for future employment.

Approximately 2500 manufacturing workers will be forced to find new jobs after the plant’s closure in 2017. A number of corporate jobs will also go with the shift from local production. Toyota expects to finalise the number of corporate losses by the end of this year.

Toyota Australia president Dave Buttner says the company is committed to supporting its employees as it transitions to a national sales and distribution company.

“We understand that the next few years may be difficult for many of our people as they consider their options beyond 2017,” Buttner said.

“The DRIVE program will act as a one-stop shop for employees to be in the best possible position of finding a new job in the future.”

Toyota will introduce the second phase of the program in mid-2015, when it will provide employees with jobs skills training, individual career plans and the opportunity to access company-sponsored training and further study.

The DRIVE centres will remain open for six months after the closure of manufacturing. Affected employees will be able to access DRIVE services until they find a new job or until the centres close.




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