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WA transport industry changes womens lives

The WRF says federal help is needed to build more successful women’s transport industry programs

The Western Roads Federation (WRF) in Western Australia says the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls program is helping to empower women and particularly those who have survived domestic violence.

The WRF says mature aged women and domestic violence survivors are using the program to find new careers and self-confidence in the WA transport industry.

The WRF says nearly a third of the 220 women trained to drive road trains over the past 20 years by the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls have come from backgrounds that include domestic violence incidents.

“We have found that domestic violence survivors find empowerment in a safe space driving trucks, while gaining financial freedom in an incredibly supportive on-road truck driver community,” Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls member Heather Jones says.

Jones’s experience is validated by both mature aged women and domestic violence survivors graduating from the $6.1 million WA government investment in the transport industry training scheme that is jointly managed by TAFE and the industry.

The WRF says the program has now graduated more than 87 per cent of graduates into jobs in the industry, with an increasing percentage of graduates being women.

A meeting of the leading women in transport was facilitated recently by the WRF to develop an urgent action plan to attract more women into the industry.

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“As an industry we are recognising that we can both offer life changing opportunities for women while addressing our critical skills shortages,” WRF board director Louise Bilato says.

The WRF says there are many career opportunities ideally suited to women in the transport industry, but says the industry needs to increase awareness and offer tailored training pathways that connect to employers.

The federation is calling for federal government support, saying it needs the government to build on the great training investment done by the WA government.

The WRF wants the federal government to offer support to women specific programs like Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls and tailored training pathways into the other great career opportunities offered in the transport industry.

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