Women truck drivers aren’t an everyday sight – but there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be! Vector has started a programme called Women With Drive to help make it happen…and it’s giving 10 women a rolling start on a new life.
Aimed at unemployed women between the ages of 18 and 35, Women With Drive provides participants with a year of paid professional driver training to provide them with all the theoretical and practical know-how they need to work in the sector.
“Only 1 in every 5 employees in the South African transport sector is female, and even fewer actually drive trucks. Yet studies show that women drivers are no less competent than men. Through Women With Drive we aim to equip women learners with knowledge and tangible skills that are employable and income-generating. Although it is not an employment scheme, some participants could possibly be employed by Vector at the end of their twelve-month learnership contract should the opportunity arise,” says Learning & Development Manager Annelie Govender.
The programme is funded by the Transport Education & Training Authority (TETA) and leads to a National Certificate in Professional Driving. Skills learned include vehicle operation, customer relations and road transport service planning. “A strong focus is placed in developing best-in-class drivers by exposing them to the theoretical and practical components of being a fully-skilled professional driver,” explains Annelie.
10 ladies, 10 chances to Go Beyond
After going through in-cab and written assessments, 10 jubilant ladies were finally selected for the programme. Although all of them had Code 14 drivers’ licences and PDPs, none were currently employed – as per the programme’s requirements – and they seized the chance to prove themselves during their one-year stint at Vector.
Since August 2017, all the ladies have received in-cab lessons with a personal tutor from a local driving school, completed their in-class modules and are now on site at Vector Thekweni to accumulate practical driving hours, be mentored and spend time at customers’ sites.
“There has been great feedback on the programme so far. For us it’s a brilliant opportunity to help transform the local transport industry while also identifying ‘women with drive’ that could be absorbed into our business,” concludes Annelie.
Here’s a shout-out to our 10 ladies in blue…you’re on the road to Going Beyond!