Pilbara truckie tries to raise female participation rates

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi


School visits aim to pique interest among female students about trucking industry.

Pilbara truckie tries to raise female participation rates
Heather Jones (left) is using school visits to raise the trucking industry's profile among female students.

 

A female truck driver in Western Australia is heading back to school in an effort to raise interest among female students about careers in the trucking industry.

Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls founder Heather Jones, who set up the group late last year to encourage more female drivers to enter the industry, has started visiting high schools to raise trucking’s profile among students.

This week’s visit to a high school in Western Australia has proved successful, with many female students expressing interest to work in the industry.

"We usually start by asking the girls if any of them had ever thought about transport as a career," Jones, who has been in the industry for 25 years, says.

"On Tuesday, we had one. At the end of our info session, 33 per cent of girls were interested in looking into or following transport as a career."

Jones, who runs her own owner-driver company Success Transport, says many new drivers miss out on a job due to a lack of experience.

"I’ve got over 100 young men and women who have contacted me. They can’t get past HR [heavy rigid] because they don’t have the required five years’ experience," she says.

"Once you get your licence, going from licence to experience there’s a huge gap so no one is covering that area."

Jones has been offering 160 hours of free mentoring to new drivers. New drivers accompany Jones on the job to observe everyday tasks in the Pilbara region.

"That then gets them up for a very good foundation. They’re trained correctly and have the highest level of safety because that’s what the oil and gas require," she says.

"They’re learning that from the beginning and don’t have to unlearn that habit or relearn bad training. I would rather have a blank canvass than try and undo some really bad training."

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