Pictured: Jim Davidson in front of a legacy Cleanaway truck (with Fred Douglas)
Jim Davidson, Driver Trainer for Narangba Health and Safety recently celebrated a major career milestone of 30 years working with Cleanaway.
Jim realised early on that he would be a great fit at Cleanaway. Back when non-drivers were allowed to ride along on weekends, Jim followed his brother-in-law who was also a Cleanaway driver, on his runs. “I went out with him one Sunday morning on a front lift, and I thought, ‘I love this, this is what I want to do.’ I think I was 25 when I started, and I’ve been here ever since,” he said.
He started driving a small tilt tray at the Cleanaway Northgate depot in 1989 and later advanced to a two-person, city front lift truck, all the while broadening his skills by attending Cleanaway’s driver training programs.
Pictured: Jim Davidson in front of a legacy Cleanaway front lift (with Trevor Williamson)
Over the years Jim has built an impressive resume across a variety of roles within Cleanaway including driver, leading hand, trainer, OHS (Occupational Health and Safety) officer, rehabilitation coordinator and supervisor. He was appointed as area manager for Bundaberg, and heavy vehicle driver trainer for Solids, Liquids and Industrials in Queensland. In 2018 he was involved in the Brisbane City Council Alliance, training drivers for a fleet of compaction trailers and B-double side tippers.
Pictured: Jim and colleague Tom Triandis in 1994
A day in Jim’s life
Today, Jim’s role as driver trainer involves a large amount of travelling – be it driving to sites or flying in to other states to deliver classroom-based training or in-vehicle assessments.
“A normal day for me starts anywhere between 1:00am and 5:00am, depending on the training requirements and can last up to 12 hours. Classroom-based training can be just one or up to 15 participants depending on the module.” Jim explained.
“I also spend time reading up on changes in legislation, road rules and fines, updating training documentation with input from the other driver trainers located throughout the country, and attending safety meetings, driver trainer meetings and phone conferences.”
Pictured: Jim at a training session in Geebung, 2004
Leading the way for change
Jim has seen many changes and improvements in his time with Cleanaway.
Pictured: Jim Davidson and Cameron Black with a BCC compaction trailer
“One instance that I never forgot was when I advised a site supervisor that the contractor he employed was not wearing appropriate safety clothing or equipment – he was wearing shorts, a short sleeved shirt, no eye protection, sunscreen or hat. Trying to implement change for the better and have it accepted by an entire workplace was very challenging especially when dealing with the mindset of ‘we’ve always done it this way, why change now?’ but with the right support from Cleanaway we were able to change mindsets for the better.” said Jim.
Pictured: Jim and the Cleanaway Bundaberg team celebrating 3,000 days incident free
The secret to success
When asked about what it takes to be a successful driver trainer, Jim said with a smile, “Patience, a lot of patience, and agility. Did I mention patience?”
Jim’s best advice for those looking for a career as a driver is to love the job. “To borrow a quote from Steve Jobs – your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.’”
On his past 30 years at Cleanaway he said, “It has been a great journey meeting lots of people, with the odd challenge along the way. Reflecting back over those years, I would not change anything – I would do it all again!”
Off the road
Outside of the workplace, Jim is an active family man. “I spend a fair bit of time with my family but they’re spread out throughout the country, so sometimes we have to fly to them or they fly to us.” Last year they travelled to Hawaii, and this year they’re planning to fly over to Tasmania together.
At home, Jim is a handyman. “I’m a keen builder – at the moment I’m doing a deck at our house.” When relaxing, the Dr Who TV series is his go-to choice of entertainment “I like Dr. Who. I’m a Whovian as they call it. I’ve got a collection of paraphernalia from the show – dolls and remote controlled Daleks, things like that. My wife’s not very happy about it, but that’s how it is,” he says with a smile.
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