ODDS OVER­COME

Ob­tain­ing a job with lit­tle ex­pe­ri­ence in the road trans­port in­dus­try is tough enough, but hav­ing a dis­abil­ity brings up its own set of bar­ri­ers. Ta­mara Whitsed re­ports on one woman’s deter­mi­na­tion to beat the odds and ob­tain her dream job

Owner Driver - - Front Page -

BRIS­BANE TRUCK driver Candice Lure­man has set­tled into her dream job be­hind the wheel of a 2012 MercedesBenz Ac­tros 2648 B-dou­ble.

Candice, 35, who is deaf, ap­plied for 3500 truck driv­ing jobs be­fore join­ing the team at Visa Global Lo­gis­tics in Jan­uary 2017.

In the Ac­tros, she usu­ally carts con­tainer­ised im­port freight with shifts rang­ing be­tween 10 and 12 hours long, start­ing at 4am or 5am. These busy work days in­clude wharf slots, de­liv­er­ing full con­tain­ers, col­lect­ing empty con­tain­ers, and de­hir­ing empty con­tain­ers.

Candice says faced many chal­lenges af­ter de­cid­ing she wanted to drive trucks. First she had to find some­one will­ing to train her.

“Once they re­alised I was deaf, their ex­cuses as to why they couldn’t help me flowed thick and fast,” Candice says.

For­tu­nately, Strate­gix Train­ing Group helped her ob­tain her Heavy Rigid li­cence in 2011.

Soon af­ter, she found work with a large trans­port com­pany but she lost this job in Septem­ber 2013 and bat­tled to find her next op­por­tu­nity.

Candice re­ceived many re­sponses to her 3500 truck driv­ing ap­pli­ca­tions “but once I texted them to ex­plain my deaf­ness, all I re­ceived were emails or texts wish­ing me all the best for the fu­ture,” Candice says.

“Get­ting past HR at­ti­tudes to­ward women and peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­ity be­came my great­est chal­lenge.”

DRIV­ING A 2012 Mercedes Benz Ac­tros 2648 B-dou­ble for Visa Global Lo­gis­tics is a dream come true for Bris­bane mother of two, Candice Lure­man.

Candice, 35, who is deaf, be­gan driv­ing for Visa Global Lo­gis­tics in Jan­uary 2017. She usu­ally carts con­tainer­ised im­port freight for the pri­vately owned com­pany, which spe­cialises in in­ter­na­tional freight for­ward­ing.

Her shifts are be­tween 10 and 12 hours long, start­ing at 4am or 5am. These busy work days usu­ally in­clude wharf slots, de­liv­er­ing full con­tain­ers, col­lect­ing empty con­tain­ers, and de­hir­ing empty con­tain­ers.

Candice was born in South Africa and lived in New Zealand be­fore mov­ing to Aus­tralia nine years ago.

She hadn’t driven a man­ual car un­til she ar­rived in Aus­tralia, so she con­sulted Google to learn about gear­boxes. That’s when she stum­bled across an ar­ti­cle about 18-speed Road Rangers which cap­tured her imag­i­na­tion.

“I de­cided to be­come a truck driver,” she says.

DE­TER­MINED

Find­ing peo­ple will­ing to train and em­ploy an as­pir­ing truckie who is deaf was a great chal­lenge.

“I knew my jour­ney would be dif­fi­cult but I pushed on, de­ter­mined to achieve my goal,” Candice says.

“In those early days I con­tacted many driv­ing schools to do my heavy-rigid train­ing, but once they re­alised I was deaf their ex­cuses as to why they couldn’t help me flowed thick and fast.”

For­tu­nately she met Wayne Striplin, na­tional op­er­a­tions man­ager of Strate­gix Train­ing Group at the 2011 Bris­bane Truck Show. Wayne helped Candice ob­tain her Heavy Rigid (HR) li­cence.

Soon af­ter she was thrilled to find work with a large na­tional trans­port com­pany. She lost this job in Septem­ber 2013.

Candice found work as a house­keeper but was de­ter­mined to re­turn to the truck in­dus­try.

“I ap­plied for over 5017 jobs,” she says, and about 3500 of these were for truck driv­ing po­si­tions.

Most of the other ap­pli­ca­tions were

for trans­port-re­lated work. Many com­pa­nies re­sponded to Candice’s ap­pli­ca­tions. They left mes­sages for her to phone them back.

“But once I texted them to ex­plain my deaf­ness, all I re­ceived were emails or texts wish­ing me all the best for the fu­ture. Get­ting past HR at­ti­tudes to­ward women and peo­ple liv­ing with dis­abil­ity be­came my great­est chal­lenge.”

Re­gard­less, Candice per­sisted with train­ing. In 2014 she up­graded to a Multi Com­bi­na­tion (MC) li­cence and also com­pleted ware­hous­ing, lo­gis­tics, clean­ing and sur­face extraction cer­tifi­cates.

“Now I found my­self fully trained and qual­i­fied with nowhere to go.”

There were more chal­lenges ahead: “I lost my truck li­cence in Au­gust 2016 be­cause I failed my hear­ing test with hear­ing aids at 44 deci­bels.”

Even then, Candice re­fused to give up her dream. In­stead, she went on to gain more qual­i­fi­ca­tions and be­fore the year was over she had tick­ets for a front-end loader, ex­ca­va­tor, in­te­grated tool car­rier and tele­han­dler.

Her faith was re­warded. In Oc­to­ber 2016, the As­sess­ing Fit­ness to Drive Guide­lines changed, and Candice was able to re­gain her truck li­cence.

The new guide­lines give driv­ers who are deaf an op­tion to use vi­brat­ing seats, flash­ing lights and other tech­nol­ogy in­stead of hear­ing aids.

By this stage Candice had won the sup­port and re­spect of Heather Jones. Heather is CEO of Pil­bara Heavy Haulage Girls, a West Aus­tralian driver train­ing in­sti­tute where Candice gained three months of train­ing and work ex­pe­ri­ence in 2015.

Recog­nis­ing Candice’s deter­mi­na­tion and skill, Heather was happy to rec­om­mend her to Visa Global Lo­gis­tics, which wel­comed her on staff in mid-Jan­uary 2017.

Heather says Visa Global Lo­gis­tics was ea­ger to in­crease its work­place di­ver­sity, and she com­mends na­tional trans­port man­ager Scott Walker for his com­mit­ment to help­ing Candice thrive in her new job.

“Women tend to bring a nat­u­ral safety cul­ture to an en­vi­ron­ment.”

She has ob­served that Candice has a “higher level” of safety be­cause she is “100 per cent fo­cused at all times”. Un­like most driv­ers, Candice is not distracted by the two-way radio, mo­bile phone or other sounds.

“I’m so proud of Candice – from where she has come from to what she has been able to achieve now.”

‘FAN­TAS­TIC FIND’

Visa Global Lo­gis­tics’ Queens­land trans­port su­per­vi­sor, Lau­rence Pil­grim, de­scribes Candice as “a fan­tas­tic find for us”.

“She works so hard and wants to suc­ceed in this in­dus­try and ful­fil her dream job of driv­ing trucks.

“All we had to do was work out the best way to com­mu­ni­cate when Candice is not in the yard. We worked out this is by text mes­sage.”

They can also com­mu­ni­cate us­ing the Na­tional Re­lay Ser­vice, an Aus­tralian Govern­ment ini­tia­tive

“I knew my jour­ney would be dif­fi­cult”

which helps peo­ple who are deaf, hear­ing-im­paired or speech-im­paired make and re­ceive phone calls.

Visa Global Lo­gis­tics’ One­track app is in­stalled on Sam­sung tablets in each of the com­pany’s trucks. One­track is prov­ing valu­able in many as­pects of the com­pany’s daily op­er­a­tions, and is an ef­fec­tive way to in­form Candice about the work al­lo­cated to her each morn­ing.

Candice says the most help­ful work­place ad­just­ment has sim­ply been mak­ing peo­ple at the sites she vis­its aware of her lim­i­ta­tions, “so peo­ple know how to ap­proach me and what to take into con­sid­er­a­tion”. She loves the pink high-vis­i­bil­ity shirt she wears and be­lieves it helps peo­ple recog­nise her and re­mem­ber she doesn’t hear them.

At the end of her shift she likes to prac­tice driv­ing B-dou­bles and other com­bi­na­tions around the yard. She has even had an op­por­tu­nity to train in Visa Global Lo­gis­tics’ quad/quad Su­per B-dou­ble com­bi­na­tion.

Keen to keep learn­ing, Candice is now study­ing a Cer­tifi­cate IV in Driv­ing Op­er­a­tions. She cher­ishes her job.

“I just want to thank Visa Global Lo­gis­tics for their con­fi­dence in me and their sup­port for this jour­ney,” she says. “I look for­ward to see­ing my lovely col­leagues ev­ery morn­ing and their won­der­ful per­son­al­ity is all the caf­feine I ever need to kick-start the day.”

Work­ing for Visa Global Lo­gis­tics brings Candice per­sonal sat­is­fac­tion and pro­vides fi­nan­cial se­cu­rity for her two chil­dren, aged 12 and 15.

“Peo­ple know how to ap­proach me”

Candice Lure­man be­hind the wheel of a Volvo from the Pil­bara Heavy Haulage Girls fleet

Visa Global Lo­gis­tics spe­cialises in in­ter­na­tional freight for­ward­ing

Lau­rence Pil­grim, Candice Lure­man, Scott Walker and Michael Punter. The Visa Global Lo­gis­tics team sup­ports Candice’s en­deav­ours to ad­vance her truck­ing ca­reer

Truckie Candice Lure­man (right) with her men­tor Heather Jones, CEO of Pil­bara Heavy Haulage Girls

Candice Lure­man and Heather Jones (left) en­joy a day out at the 2017 Bris­bane Truck Show

Candice un­der­takes train­ing with Visa Global Lo­gis­tics quad/quad su­per B-dou­ble com­bi­na­tion

Candice Lure­man loves driv­ing a 2012 Mercedes Benz Ac­tros 2648 for Visa Global Lo­gis­tics

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