Women driver training initiative to tackle shortfall
A pilot training program to help women obtain a heavy vehicle driver licences, will be offered through a Wodonga TAFE, Volvo and Transport Women Australia partnership
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).
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 to the Women Driving Transport Careers program will start the training on July 23.
“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,” says Simon Macaulay, the national manager transport for Wodonga TAFE’s transport division, DECA.
Volvo Group Australia (VGA) 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.
VGA president and CEO Peter Voorhoeve says Australia is standing on the precipice of a serious truck driver shortage.
“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,” he says.
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.