With its 50th intake set to kick off next week, WA’s successful truck driver training program will this time focus on getting more women into the driver’s seat.
An initiative of the WA Government, the $6.1 million Heavy Vehicle Driver Operations Course has seen almost 500 truck drivers graduate through the six-week program.
Launched in April 2021 and delivered by Driver Risk Management (DRM), on behalf of Central Regional TAFE, the course aims to deliver job-ready drivers.
The course is open to both new entrants to the industry and those wanting to upgrade to higher licence classes. General manager at DRM, Mia Taylor says of those who have completed the course, 85-90 per cent have been new entrants. Approximately 40 per cent of graduates to date have been women.
“We’d like to see an increase gender diversity, as diversity rates in the industry are still quite low. Companies are now making it easier for women within this industry to come on board,” said Taylor.
“The industry is screaming out for female drivers and female participants, and coming into the Christmas rush for logistics, there are more jobs than people to fill the roles.”
The course is delivered in partnership with Western Roads Federation (WRF).
WRF CEO Cam Dumesny said, “This trend is very welcome news for the transport industry, as so many of our employers are keen to employ more female drivers not just because of the skills shortage but because they bring different positive attributes to their company.”
Women from all walks of life and circumstances have been attracted to the course, from mature aged women and women seeking family friendly hours.
“Having a women only cohort and the supportive structure of the course, means it is perfect for women who feel that they may need time to build their confidence,” said Taylor.
The next course, which will be targeted at women, is due to begin on November 14, with 25 places on offer. Those taking part just need to have their car licence and be off their P-plates.
“Rather than just possessing a licence, the course provides the fundamental skills for graduates to become a safe truck driver out on the road,” said Taylor.
“Every unit has a practical element as well as a theory element. For load restraint, they’re actually loading the back of a B-double and instead of nice neat boxes, they learn about what to do with unstable loads too, and have an element for dangerous goods. We look at if your load has dangerous goods, can it be mixed with other items. With journey planning, there’s fatigue management and looking at how many breaks you would need to have.”
To date, 89.5 per cent of those completing the course have gained either immediate or near-immediate employment.
Those interested in taking part in the course can contact Western Roads Federation for more information.