In conjunction with Wodonga TAFE, Volvo Trucks Australia has launched Iron Women, a driver training and licensing program aimed specifically at females.
This pilot program provides vocational training and heavy vehicle licensing to females of all ages and backgrounds interested in pursuing a career in road transport. The 3-module course covers all facets of driver training, from compliance, fatigue management and load restraint to initially obtaining a Heavy Rigid (HR) licence. On completion the participants will receive their Certificate III in Driving Operations.
After 12 months on the job as an HR driver, the participants will complete their final module of training and undertake their HC licence test.
“Iron Women programs have successfully run around the world. We can see that the transport industry is suffering from a chronic shortage of skilled drivers. Anecdotally, we can also see that industry image also plays a part when it comes to women considering a career in road transport. We hope programs like these may help shift the dial on the traditional driver stereotypes and show that a career behind the wheel can be both fulfilling and rewarding. We see time and time again in our own business that diverse teams thrive whether it be on the shop floor or in our own headquarters. To see that sort of diversity reflected in our future transport industry would be a fantastic outcome.”
said Martin Merrick, President and CEO Volvo Group Australia.
11 candidates from 5 transport companies and 3 states will be taking part in the Australian pilot program with the only prerequisites being that they’re employed by a transport company and have a desire to take on a driving role. Companies taking part include Team Global Express, Southeast Queensland Hauliers, John West Logistics, JATEC and Nolan’s Interstate Transport. One fully funded spot was also offered to a Tasmanian based candidate.
“Wodonga TAFE is delighted to be a partner in the Volvo Trucks Iron Women Training Program. This extends industry specific capability and support to women entering the road transport industry. A fantastic collaborative partnership underpinned by our joint commitment to fostering an inclusive and diverse educational environment, equipping participants with the future skills for success in heavy vehicle industry.”
said Phil Paterson, CEO Wodonga TAFE.
Two weeks of classroom theory will be followed by one week of on road heavy vehicle training at Wodonga TAFE’s Barnawartha Vic Logic Campus. Iron Women participants will train in a Volvo FL Electric rigid and a counterweighted Volvo FH 500 I-Save prime mover.
Guest speakers during the program include, Melissa Weller from Heathy Heads in trucks and Sheds, Heather Jones, Pilbara Heavy haulage Girls and Kerri Connors, former tanker driver turned mental health advocate with rural and industry not-for-profit RAWTAS.