The first Superior Heavy Vehicle Licensing (SHVL) program for women will be delivered in partnership between Wodonga TAFE’s Transport Division DECA, Transport Women Australia Limited (TWAL) and Volvo Group.
The program has been created to help women qualify for their heavy vehicle licence. Volvo will supply a prime mover for the four-week intensive training course designed to provide students with behind-the-wheel experience.
By encouraging female drivers to participate in the course, DECA was looking at a solution to address the driver shortage across the road transport sector.
At the recent Transport Women Australia Conference in Canberra, Women Driving Transport Careers was launched. Offered in Metropolitan Melbourne, the course will be arranged in conjunction with Volvo Group Australia Driver Academy.
Simon Macaulay, National Manager Transport at DECA, said the training will assist females obtain a high demand skill for which to fast-track their entrance into the heavy transport workforce.
“We provide participants with the industry standard skills and know-how. We take them through areas that are barely mentioned in a lot of licence instruction, such as safety protocols and health and safety procedures, road maps, fatigue management, chain of responsibility and use of technology,” Macauley said.
Volvo Group Australia has found the average age of truck drivers in Australia is 47. Meanwhile 52 per cent of employers, according to its research conducted in 2016, struggle to attract the quantity of drivers needed and 46 per cent are already experiencing a shortage of available drivers.
President and CEO of Volvo Group Australia Peter Voorhoeve said 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. 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.”
(Image: 2017 Volvo Truck Challenge finalist Kerri Connors).