Wodonga TAFE helping bring more women into Transport
Tuesday, 2 October 2018
When industry and Wodonga TAFE come together, great things happen. Last month following the successful completion of the first phase of a women only Wodonga TAFE DECA Superior Heavy Vehicle Licensing program. Eight newly-licenced women truck drivers will be working to shift freight and the gender balance in the logistics industry following their graduation from the inaugural women-only driver training program last month.
In collaboration with Transport Women Australia, LinFox, Australia Post and Volvo, Wodonga TAFE’s specialty transport department DECA (Driver Education Centre of Australia) sought to address two key industry challenges; firstly, increasing female driver participation in the transport and logistics industry, and secondly, increasing the driving standards of newly licenced heavy vehicle drivers to ensure they are industry ready.
The solution was the implementation of a targeted DECA Superior Heavy Vehicle Licensing Program for women. So what makes this program unique?
The DECA Superior Heavy Vehicle Licensing Program is Australia’s most comprehensive heavy vehicle licensing and professional driver training program. Together with being awarded a heavy vehicle licence, successful participants also complete DECA’s unique rollover prevention and stability training, as well as a best practice industry endorsed Pro Driver training program.
In order to help identify and overcome barriers to women joining the transport industry, DECA teamed with Transport Women Australia (TWA) to give participants further skills and mentoring in addressing issues such as women’s health, sexism in a male dominated industry, and mapping female friendly facilities on transport routes.
To complete the successful transition to employment DECA and TWA worked with Linfox and Australia Post, to check that their workplaces were ready to accommodate female drivers, ensuring cultures were supportive of women participation, workforce knowledge of anti-discrimination laws were current, and facilities were appropriate.
The initial program achieved 100% completion. Additionally all participants are employed under a traineeship.
One of the program participants is a former makeup artist. She was seeking a career opportunity that provided self-development, employment stability and financial security. The DECA program has achieved all these personal objectives as well as contributing to filling an area of national skills shortage. She never would have thought a career in transport would be practical or possible, however thanks to this program, her life has now been changed in her favour.
The average age of a truck driver is 47 and with an ageing workforce, it is estimated that recruitment may need to increase by 150 per cent to offset retirement and meet growing demand.
“If fifty-one per cent of the Australian population don’t consider driving a truck as a career option, then we need to change that,” said Sondra Kremerskothen, Linfox Group Manager Training.
“We talk about change a lot in logistics and this is what it looks like. By removing the roadblocks that currently prevent talented people from joining the industry, we can ensure our industry continues to meet increasing consumer demand,” she said.
“While this first stage is focused on women, future programs will work to address the needs of other demographics who, despite interest, may be unsure of the steps required or may experience challenges pursuing a career within the industry.”
Australia Post is Australia’s most trusted delivery partner and delivers to more than 11.9 million delivery points in Australia and more than 190 countries around the world.
James Dixon, General Manager Transport & Aviation, Australia Post said “We are proud of our world-class fleet and the important role our drivers play in delivering for our communities every day. We are investing to grow our workforce of skilled and talented drivers – and to increase female representation – to ensure we can serve our customers better and continue to meet community needs, now and into the future.
“We value diversity and appreciate the benefits an inclusive workplace brings to our customers, our business, and most importantly, our people. We look forward to welcoming these talented new recruits, and many more, into our team,” he said.