“How did she get there?” It’s a question asked by school leavers, job seekers and aspiring business owners alike. Understanding the career pathways available – and having role models to follow – makes an industry more accessible to those looking to enter it.
The inaugural Teletrac Navman Outstanding Contribution by a Woman in the Road Transport Industry Award was announced at the Road Transport Forum conference in September. The award aims to recognise successful and committed women in the transport industry. Through promoting winner’s career achievements, the award encourages more women to consider a career in the road transport industry.
The awards highlighted two women in different roles and different career stages. The first woman is midway through her career, managing all aspects of a transport business, including managing female staff in the business. The second woman is in the earlier stages of her career, driving heavy vehicles and is impressing both her employees and customers alike.
Here’s what they had to say about the award, the unique skills women bring to the industry and the future.
Winner - Ayna Shamim – Angel Transport (Auckland)
Ayna started Angel Transport in 2005, at just 19, together with her father. She has since helped grow the company to its current fleet of 29 trucks and 35 FTE workers. Angel Transport employs three female drivers and would employ more if they could. With a driver shortage, Ayna has already told her two young daughters they will have to drive for her when they are older.
The fleet operates in Auckland metro area but there are plans for expansion. Ayna leads by example and would be seen as a role model to other women wanting to enter the industry and build a successful transport company.
Congrats on your win!
“The awards ceremony was such as privilege. I was over the moon to win, even though beforehand I was quite nervous as about the whole event. Following the awards night, I’ve been crazy busy. The recognition and appreciation of the work I have put in has given me a huge boost, almost a rebirth, and I’m feeling very motivated.”
What do you like about having women in your transport team?
“I really enjoy working with women. I currently have three on my team. I find that they are incredibly organised, very reliable and punctual. Having great staff takes a weight off my shoulders, as I know that they will complete what I ask, and I don’t need to remind them.”
“Women make amazing professional drivers and are regularly at the top of the driver dashboard for safe driving. I’ve also noticed that my female drivers can be gentler with the gear.”
What opportunities are available to women in your business?
“Something that is important to the company is that employees are encouraged and supported to grow with the business. A driver may start in a light vehicle, such as a van, but if they show good skill, they are given the opportunity to train and secure class 2 L and class 2 full. The next step is to class 4 L and 4 full. Angel Transport covers the costs as we know that there’s a shortage of professional drivers and we’d like to help train our team to fill the gaps. The renumeration changes with class type, so it’s important for the driver’s job satisfaction too.”
“Women can be more interested in staying in smaller vehicles. I think they could be a little nervous to move up, especially as some joined the business with low experience. They need time to build their confidence in the vehicles and in different situations. I’m encouraging all my female driver to move up to the next class of licence – for the business and for their own growth. I’m looking at training for a class 2 licence myself!”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
“I see myself owning my own yard, we’re already close to opening a new yard in 2020. I’d like the business to keep growing and this includes expanding the staff to include even more women.”
“I’d like to see a stronger representation of different types of people in industry events and awards. We know that there are all types of people in transport, so I hope in 10 years to see more Indian faces for example at the RTF conference.”
Runner up Casey Glover – LHT Group (Hamilton)
Casey initially applied to join LHT Group, but was declined because the company did not have facilities of the right standard for females to use. The 2018 RTF Conference in Dunedin – at which Meryn Morrison and Mel Foot presented on encouraging more women into the workforce – was the catalyst for the group to change its direction, building new facilities and upgrading amenities for the drivers so they could employ Casey.
Casey drives a Class 5 semi-unit in the Hamilton-Bay of Plenty network. In recent driving reviews she has been in the top tier of driving attributes via GPS reporting for speed, hard braking, road position, incident reporting, and driver presentation and paperwork. This review has profiled her for being advanced into some larger HPMV equipment the group operates. Casey’s willingness to learn and be a model employee has led to LHT group employing a second female driver who is producing similar results.
Congrats on the recognition at the Road Transport Awards
“Thank you very much! I was very, very happy with the award and to be recognised.”
What do you focus on to make sure your own driving is consistent, professional and safe?
“I like to think that I keep my driving safe by remembering that it isn't a race and that it is better for me to take my time and check my loads during the trip, if I have to. I believe this helps me stay professional as I've made sure the job is done to the best of my ability. I focus a lot on how others are driving and how they tackle different situations and how I could make changes to my own driving.”
What misconceptions do you think other women have about the road transport industry?
“I think the main thing women get wrong about the industry is who is driving and who they have to work with. There are more and more women in the industry now and in all fairness there isn't really anything to be scared of. I am lucky enough to work with a group of great guys who are more than willing to help me and have taken me under their wing.”
Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
“In the next 10 years I like to think that I will still be involved in the industry in some aspect as I have a diploma in Business Studies that I would perhaps like to pursue and use.”
Thanks to these two women for sharing their thoughts with us. We look forward to see even more nominations for the RTF Awards in 2020.
Check out our driver behaviour and safety page to learn more about how telematics can help you to assess and train your drivers.