When Sanjeev Kumar moved to New Zealand from India as a student five years ago he never imagined he’d end up driving Fonterra tankers around Bay of Plenty, “I love my job! This has been a life-changing experience for me”.
He moved to New Zealand to learn and work in IT, but he says he had to change tack after many failed attempts to get a job, “everyone wanted me to have ‘New Zealand experience’ before they’d employ me. As an immigrant, it was really hard to get a job.”
That was, until he was told to give trucking a go. For the next three years Sanjeev sat his licences and started getting his road hours up, but always aspired to becoming a driver for Fonterra, “I always saw their tankers on the road and thought ‘I want to drive one of those."
Sanjeev and his tanker
When he got his chance to interview with the Co-op Sanjeev was nervous he’d be rejected again, “I was worried because I was an immigrant, but Fonterra’s been great because they’ve been really supportive. My managers always help me grow my skills.”
Since 2019 Sanjeev’s been driving a tanker from the Reporoa depot and loves his job so much, he’s started filming videos of his route. “I noticed there were no good videos on Youtube of Fonterra tankers. Every day is new for us, we see lovely scenery.” The title of his latest video says it all – ‘Fantastic office on wheels’.
Sanjeev’s fantastic office on wheels
By tapping into his tech roots, he’s been able to give people a 360° view of his “office” and some of the scenery he gets to experience daily. It’s also been a great way for him to show off his career to his family back home in India, “my family is very proud of me.” None more so than his Dad, who’s also a truck driver.
Sanjeev’s boss, Reporoa Depot Manager, Stuart Reed, loves the videos Sanjeev’s produced and says “Sanjeev comes to work with a smile on his face. It’s only his second season at Fonterra, but he’s picked up the job very quickly. He’s great to work with – if I could bottle him I would!”
Sanjeev in his cabin
Sanjee's proud Mum and Dad
Sanjeev says making videos is his “passion” and he’s loved combining his technical skills with his Fonterra career. While he didn’t get to see out his initial ambition of a job in IT, Sanjeev thinks life’s worked out for the better. He’s grateful to his managers for giving him a shot and supporting him as he grows with the Co-op.
Along the way Sanjeev’s picked up a bit of a Kiwi accent, some local slang and a love for New Zealand. He says by giving him a chance, Fonterra’s given him a career for life, “I’m here forever, I think. This is my retirement job and I’m only 27.”