Left to right – Destiny Leaf, Gina Parker, Krystal Whitter, Candice Westnedge, Whaianui Te-Riini, Karen Watson-Paul, Dayna Callender.
A group of women is driving change in the Bay of Plenty freight truck industry, with eight new female truck drivers graduating from Toi Ohomai with a New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Road Transport Heavy Vehicle Transport Operator.
The group, which has just completed the 19-week course, represent half of the graduates, the highest number of females the course has had at any one time.
The women all hail from different backgrounds, with the majority heading straight into jobs pursuing their goals of becoming truck drivers.
For Dayna Callender, truck driving is an industry she became hooked on while at school.
“I finished year 13 last year and I’ve always had an interest in trucks. From school the pressure is to go to university but I was a student for a day on this course last year and decided this was what I wanted to do,” Dayna says.
Destiny Leaf, who needed a class 4 licence to drive a house truck, says the course and the skills learnt are perfect for the younger generation.
“You can really see a career path and it’s a career that has longevity,” Destiny says.
Adrian Bowen, group manager – road transport and warehousing at Toi Ohomai, says he’s had really positive feedback from the companies these students have done work experience at.
“Their work is respected and their attention to detail has been commented on,” Bowen says.
The influx of women has been welcomed by Bay of Connections Freight Logistics Action Group chairman John Galbraith.
“It’s fantastic to see women choosing a career in freight and this helps break down the stereotype that it’s a job just for men,” Galbraith says.
He says those interested in getting into truck driving can attend the industry’s ‘Big Day Out’ to be held as part of the Tauranga Careers Expo on August 10 and 11 at Baypark Stadium.