Women driver training initiative to tackle shortfall

Wodonga TAFE, Volvo and TWAL link for heavy vehicle licence program

Women driver training initiative to tackle shortfall
Jacquelene Brotherton


Women Driving Transport Careers, a pilot training program designed to help women obtain a heavy vehicle driver licence, will be offered through a new partnership formed by Wodonga TAFE, Volvo Group Australia and Transport Women Australia Limited (TWAL).

Announced at a recent TWAL event on Friday, the training is to be offered through Wodonga TAFE’s transport division, DECA, and supported by Volvo Group Australia Driver Academy with the supply of a prime mover for the students to gain behind-the-wheel experience.

The four-week intensive training will be offered in metropolitan Melbourne and cover theory, practical training behind the wheel, mechanical appreciation and assessment, with the first intake graduating at the end of August.

The first intake of students is to start the training on July 23.

"Wodonga TAFE has a mission to strengthen communities and industries through accessible and innovative learning, which is exactly what this training will achieve for women wanting to obtain a heavy vehicle truck licence," DECA national manager transport Simon Macaulay says.

"It will give women the chance to get behind the wheel of a prime mover and work towards joining the heavy transport workforce as truck drivers, which is a skill in very high demand in Melbourne as well as throughout Australia."

Volvo Group Australia research in 2016 found the average age of truck drivers in Australia is 47, while 52 per cent of employers struggle to attract the quantity of drivers needed and 46 per cent are already experiencing a shortage of available drivers.

Volvo Group Australia president and CEO Peter Voorhoeve says the company is working hard to attract new and more diverse talent into the heavy transport sector.

"Australia is standing on the precipice of a serious truck driver shortage, the effects of which will be felt far beyond the transport industry," Voorhoeve says.

"If the industry does not find ways to attract more drivers to the industry, we will all feel the pain in higher prices for the things that trucks move up and down our highways – food, clothing, construction materials, medical supplies and consumer goods to name just a few.

"As the leading manufacturer of trucks in Australia, we take our role in the industry seriously, which is why we are constantly looking for new ways to grow the heavy transport sector workforce and champion greater diversity in the driver workforce."

TWAL chair Jacquelene Brotherton notes the partnership demonstrated how leaders in the heavy transport industry can be part of the solution to addressing the driver shortage.

"Finding pathways into the heavy transport industry can be daunting for people who have never had any experience with it, which is why the support being provided for this new training is so valuable," Brotherton says.

"Training to help gain a heavy vehicle licence provides just the opportunity that many women will no doubt have been looking for, and we are delighted to support the initiative."


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