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Toyota ends DRIVE transition program

Drive change: Toyota set up the DRIVE program back in July 2014 to assist its employees to transition to other industries following the closure of its Australian factory.

Employee transition program ends with 18 per cent of Toyota staff still out of work

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Toyota logo20 Jul 2018

TOYOTA Motor Corporation Australia (TMCA) has wound up its DRIVE employee support program in late June, eight months after the closure of its local manufacturing operations in October last year.
 
The program launched in July 2014 – six months after the company announced its intention to shut its Altona, Victoria, factory – and was designed to help the 2500 employees who faced unemployment transition to work in a variety of industries, or undertake further study.
 
Toyota conducted a survey of its former employees during May and found that of the 1900 who were contacted, more than 82 per cent had found full-time work, part-time work, casual work, had entered higher education or further study, had started their own business, started volunteering or had retired.
 
Of all the respondents, 18 per cent were still yet to find work.
 
Eight per cent of the total number elected to retire after the closure of the factory in October last year.
 
Toyota says that 1400 employees engaged in study as part of their DRIVE reskilling program, some of which included licences and certificates.
 
Of the participants that found new employment, 33.7 per cent stayed in the manufacturing sector, while transport, postal and warehousing was the next most popular industry, with 24.7 per cent transitioning to work in the sector.
 
A further 7.6 per cent moved into construction, 4.7 per cent found jobs in healthcare and social assistance, 4.1 per cent went to retail trade and 3.8 per cent ended up in the professional, scientific and technical sector.
 
Furthermore, 2.7 per cent landed in electricity, gas, water and waste, 2.3 per cent shifted to wholesale trade, 2.2 per cent to agriculture, forestry and fishing, 2.1 per cent to information media and telecommunications and 2.0 per cent to the education and training sector.
 
Two per cent or less found new work in public administration and safety, accommodation and food services, arts and recreation services, financial and insurance services, administration and support services, rental, hiring and real estate and mining.
 
Toyota Australia public affairs manager Brodie Bott told GoAuto that the engagement level for DRIVE across the entire company was 83 per cent, and added that the program was successful in helping employees transition after manufacturing.
 
“The redundancy process was a relatively new process in the Toyota world (save for NUMMI – albeit a collaboration with GM in the US) and the DRIVE program was unique globally,” he said.
 
“Toyota Australia’s aim was to implement a smooth and respectful transition for employees so that they remain passionate advocates of Toyota.”
 
He added that the company also aimed to ensure “all employees were treated equally, fairly and individually; implement a transition program tailored to each individual’s circumstance; balance the needs of the employee and the company (caring, sensitive and responsible); TMCA employee support program is the best example in Australia.”
 
As reported, just 80 of the 360 people employed at TMCA’s Sydney-based sales and marketing operation transferred to Melbourne as part of the closure and consolidation, meaning 280 staff faced unemployment.
 
Toyota built cars in Australia for 54 years before the closure of the factory last year. The last two models Toyota produced in Australia were the four-cylinder and hybrid Camry sedan and the closely-related Aurion V6 sedan.
 
The Japanese car-maker shut the doors of the factory on October 3 last year, just two and a half weeks before Holden closed its manufacturing operation, bringing to an end mass vehicle production in Australia following Ford’s exit in October 2016.

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