Volvo Group  has announced in partnership with Wodonga TAFE and Transport Women Australia Limited a pilot training program called Women Driving Transport Careers,  a program which is designed to help women obtain a heavy vehicle driver licence, which will be offered through the  new partnership. 

Announced at a Transport Women Australia Limited event late last week, the training will be offered through Wodonga TAFE’s Transport Division, DECA, and will be 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 2018. 

Simon Macaulay, National Manager Transport at DECA, said he was looking forward to welcoming the first intake of students, who will commence the training on 23 July. 

“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. 

“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.” 

Research conducted by Volvo Group Australia 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. 

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.” 

Chair of Transport Women Australia Limited, Jacquelene Brotherton, said 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. 

“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.”