Volvo has renewed its backing for WA based transport and training organisation Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls with its head, Heather Jones receiving the keys to a brand new Volvo FH16 at the recent Brisbane Truck Show.
The new Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls truck was on show in the Brisbane CBD during the show and the new truck, wrapped in bright Pilbara pink, was personally handed over by Volvo Trucks Australia vice president of sales Tony O’Connell.
“The new FH16 is absolutely wonderful, I’m excited to hop in and drive it home,” said Heather.
Volvo Group Australia partnered with Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls in 2016 to support their driver training program in Western Australia, as they look to increase the involvement of women within the trucking industry.
“The relationship with Volvo Group Australia means the world to me because without their support and sponsorship we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.”
Heather isn’t the only one delighted about the relationship, with Tony O’Connell citing how important it is to help out those striving to better the community.
“We are so passionate about helping Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls because they do such good work in our industry,” said O’Connell.
In May 2016 Volvo Group Australia handed over the first of a number of trucks to Heather, beginning a unique partnership that has helped Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls grow not only their training program, but also their output as an active haulage company.
“We were using older trucks, 10 to 12 years old. If something happened to those trucks it would have been the end of our business,” remembers Heather.
“These new trucks have the latest technology to train our new drivers so they’re trained to the latest equipment.”
The new FH16 will be put to work in Pilbara Heavy Haulage as a long-haul transport vehicle as well as to train aspiring drivers. And whilst Heather is passionate about getting more women into the industry and promoting safety on the road, training over 60 drivers in the last three years, it is not the only motivation behind what she does in Western Australia.
“One of our latest drivers came to us as a domestic violence victim, but we didn’t know that. When she came, she was quite a quiet, crushed soul, but when she left she was a really happy person. She was empowered because her life had been changed,” recalled Heather with a healthy dose of goosebumps. The driver now tows triple road-trains in Queensland and, according to Heather, is living a new life.
“We’re not just training people, we’re not just teaching them road safety and driver education, we’re actually changing peoples’ lives as well and that is something we never thought – we’re giving them a future.”
During their four days at Reddacliff Place in the Brisbane CBD, it was estimated that more than 1,000 people interacted with the Pilbara Heavy Haulage Girls, with an overwhelmingly positive response.
“So many people from so many walks of life want to come over and have a chat, and hundreds want photos.”
While her popularity continues to rise, Heather is only focused on getting everyone involved who is able to contribute.
“This is a really awesome industry and if you’ve got an opinion on the industry, go and get your license and come and make change.”
Volvo Group Australia says it is passionate about driving change in the transport industry, and added that this is why it partners with Heather Jones and her team. The company says it is eager to promote new entrants into the industry,] and believes the partnership will grow in the future to increase the level of driver knowledge and safety on the road.