App promotes safety for women in transport and logistics industry

Thursday, 10 March, 2022

A smartphone app supported by the Victorian Government aims to give female truck drivers the confidence and support they need on the road. The $1.38 million Oz Truck App will provide 24/7 emergency support during breakdowns and crashes, as well as an online forum for drivers to provide peer support, health and wellbeing information, and petrol station, weighbridge and rest-stop finders. The app was developed after research undertaken at Wodonga TAFE identified negative cultural perceptions of women in the freight and logistics industry — with women reporting intimidation and bullying by male counterparts, and a desire for more support and training for new female drivers and those of diverse backgrounds. The project was piloted using 5000 truck drivers in mid-2021, before being rolled out for free to the broader industry.

As part of the Victorian Government’s Women Driving Transport Careers program, Wodonga TAFE developed the app in collaboration with Launchpad App Development — alongside Australia Post, Linfox, Volvo Group Australia, the Australian Trucking Association and Transport Women Australia. Other initiatives to support women in transport careers include a vocational education and training (VET) ambassador in schools program, a diversity training program for middle managers in trucking organisations, the creation of a modified heavy vehicle training course and creation of a truck driver capability framework. Since 2014, the Victorian Government has invested $3.2 billion to rebuild TAFE and support universities and higher education to ensure Victorians have access to high quality education and rewarding career pathways. The Victorian Budget 2021/22 includes a $383.8 million investment in the sector to ensure more Victorians get the training needed for in-demand jobs.

Gayle Tierney, Minister for Training and Skills, said the app is a great example of TAFEs working with industry in innovative ways, creating new opportunities for Victorians and stronger and more diverse workforces, and addressing skills needs. Minister for Women Gabrielle Williams added that she was proud to support this project, which helps modernise the freight and logistics industry by creating cultural change and providing more support to Victorian women. Melissa Horne, Minister for Ports and Freight, said the representation of women in Victoria’s freight industry continues to grow. “This app is a fantastic example of how we can enhance health and safety and boost the number of women entering the freight industry,” Minister Horne said.

Phil Paterson, CEO of Wodonga TAFE, said the app will encourage more women to get involved in the industry and increase its professionalism, safety and diversity. Jaclyn Symes, Member for Northern Victoria, said, “It’s great that this innovative app was developed right here in Wodonga — I hope it encourages more female truck drivers into this vital industry.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/Kzenon

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