Wodonga TAFE & Industry Come Together Once Again
Tuesday, 6 August 2019
Wodonga TAFE and Mainfreight have recently joined forces to put 10 team members through the Women Driving Transport Careers (WDTC) program, which aims to increase women truck drivers in industry, increase driving standards of newly licenced heavy vehicle drivers and increase the number of women working within the transport industry.
The program was developed due to the worrying outcomes identified within Volvo Australia’s 2016 report, Professional Truck Driver Shortage. The report identified that currently, over 75% of non-bulk domestic freight is carried on our roads; with the demand only expected to climb and predicted to double by 2030, there is a clear need to increase the already slowing number of drivers entering the industry. With the average age of drivers up to 47 and increasing, only 18% of drivers under the age of 30, and female drivers only making up 3% of organisations total driving forces there is a clear need to develop pathway programs for those looking at entering the industry.
The WDTC program has been designed to create a pathway for new entrants seeking to work in the transport industry. A key component of the program is ensuring that all drivers will gain industry relevant skills and experience that employers are seeking. The mission of this program is to strengthen both communities and industries through an accessible and innovative learning program, that offers women the chance to get behind the wheel of a heavy vehicle truck and to work as drivers in the heavy vehicle transport industry. Our program aims to both change the perceived culture associated towards the industry, whilst also making Transport companies aware of how they can better accommodate females across all aspects of their organisation.
The program ran over a four-week period, with eight female Mainfreight staff members undertaking the course. This course was coordinated differently than previous iterations, as the women came from different business departments within Mainfreight; including Supervisors, Administration and Operations. As all of these women interact with heavy vehicle drivers throughout their day, a major focus was placed on developing their understanding their importance their role plays in the Chain of Responsibility (CoR). Some of the main units included within the course included managing fatigue risk, work diaries requirements, route planning and load restraints. Whilst developing their understanding of their role in CoR, all of these women successfully completed their Heavy Rigid licence.
Facilitator, Alex Stojanovic, who taught the women throughout the course stated “Mainfreight have a great atmosphere that focuses on safety, and ensuring comradery between all workers no matter their role within the organisation.”
Professional development makes staff members feel valued, helps maintain morale and opens up new possibilities, strategies, knowledge and skill areas. By having programs such as WDTC accessible by those in industry, it creates further pathways to continue a career in the transport industry and help reduce attrition rates.
“With the challenges faced by the transport industry, Mainfreight are proud of our partnership with Wodonga TAFE’s Transport department, DECA (Driver Education Centre of Australia). This is helping change the perception of the transport industry among the public, it is also creating a pathway for women interested in a career in the transport industry and becoming heavy vehicle drivers. Programs such as Women Driving Transport Careers help promote the industry and demonstrates to the wider community that we value diversity and are proactive in creating change.” Shona Taylor, Mainfreight National People, Health & Safety Manager.