Award winner Polglase sees industry progress

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi

Role of women and APT staff personal development figure strongly

Award winner Polglase sees industry progress
Belinda Polglase, right, accepts the award from Cummins South Pacific MD Stephanie Disher


Her tireless work in establishing a workforce development program has seen All Purpose Transport (APT) project manager Belinda Polglase named the National Trucking Industry Woman of the Year.

The second generation operator, whose parents, Trevor and Pam White, founded the Brisbane-based transport company, was recognised at Australian Trucking Association's Trucking Australia 2018 Industry Awards for improving the industry.

Polglase has led the program since its inception five years ago, establishing a commercial relationship with Queensland TAFE to fund the program and fully qualify its 300 staff, of which 220 are owner-drivers.

They all receive formal qualifications in their field of expertise, up to certificate level three.

Polglase received a similar accolade from the Queensland Trucking Association (QTA) last year and the program was recognised in the 2016 ATA awards.

Polglase has also developed a youth engagement program and introduced information days and school visits to promote the industry.

She has established an internship for unemployed youth in Berrinba where its new warehouse was opened three years ago.

Six young prospects were involved in the program of which two were offered a full-time employment.

They’re been with the company for six months. Previously unable to hold a full-time employment, they now operate forklifts.

"It was a huge honour to be awarded this in front of so many of my industry peers and to follow in the footsteps of such talented winners before me," Polglase tells ATN.

"It is great recognition for myself and APT as it highlights all the great things our business has been working on and achieved over the years.

"I think that the trucking industry has changed a lot over the years and is recognising the valuable contributions of the women in this industry," she adds.

"It has definitely changed for the better and it is now commonplace for women to not only work in this industry but to achieve high level positions."

The company’s turnover continues to increase as it offers staff the opportunity to upskill through training as a way to add value to the company.

APT has continued with the program despite the National Workforce Development Fund closing last year.

Its well-trained workforce has led to a 200 per cent increase in turnover of business.

APT has also attracted new customers, with existing clients also taking more space within the new warehouse.

Its refrigerated fleet has also grown from five to 35 trucks and vans.

The project was initially introduced to reduce the turnover of drivers and workers.

It now gets the interest from first choice employees – those who chose the transport and logistics industry as first preference.

"That’s the young people," APT general manager Paul Kahlert says.

"Those who chose the transport and logistics industry as first preference."

Those who started in junior positions five years ago have climbed up into more senior roles, with up to 10 per cent of the workforce having progressed within the business.


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