The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) says it hosted a record-breaking crowd at its Annual Women’s Lunch on Monday May 2 at The Ivory in the Melbourne suburb of Elsternwick.
The Association says this is the first time it has held the event following three cancellations due to last year’s COVID restrictions.
It notes attendance has grown steadily since it started hosting the event seven years ago with more than 200 people attending the annual lunch on Monday.
“It is wonderful to see the transport industry moving away from the stereotype of a gender-dominated workplace,” the VTA’s CEO Peter Anderson says.
“For too long our industry has not understood that greater value is brought to the workplace when there is greater diversity of people,” he adds.
“Transport is, and will be, labour intensive for quite some time yet. People are the hardest resource to manage.
“It is people that makes our industry work and how those people work is what makes our businesses successful.
“Having an environment where all people are working to their own individual potential is an exciting atmosphere that we experience every day in transport.”
The VTA says several inspiring speakers addressed the audience on empowerment and strategies and tactics to experience success and fulfilment in life and at work.
It adds among the attendees were operators who also provided guidance on how to support women in transport as well as attract and retain them in the industry.
The Association says Victorian Minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne outlined steps the Victorian government is taking to attract more women to the transport industry with a focus on the Freight Industry Training for Jobseekers Project, which will see the VTA train candidates to secure long-term job opportunities.
It says this will help ensure supplies are delivered to wherever they are needed. It notes the program has a specific focus on women who currently make up only 16 per cent of employees in the sector.
“Yes, COVID-19 was the most immediate cause,” Melissa says regarding how the recent labour shortages in the freight industry occurred.
“But the pandemic was simply the tipping point for many industries that, for generations, have traditionally recruited from only half the Victorian workforce,” she adds.
“For a very long time this approach has hamstrung industries that form the cornerstone of our economy – infrastructure development, construction, freight, logistics and transport.
“These industries have deprived themselves of the talents of 50 per cent of the working population. The Victorian government is committed to changing this for good.”
Holly Bailey, Play Like a Girl Australia founder and former VFLW player also addressed attendees.
The VTA says she provided an inspiring presentation about her experiences growing up as an athlete in a male-dominated environment, and she also spoke about the importance of embracing traditionally feminine qualities like connection, vulnerability, and openness.
Pete says an example of this inclusive perspective is the VTA Driver Delivery Program where more than 200 people have been trained and placed into the industry as drivers, with more than 15 per cent of those placements being women, where there has been an industry average of only seven per cent.
“A small improvement that could be regarded as too slow but one that we are trying to build upon, and it must be noted that of the placements to date over the past three years we have not had a single report of accident by the drivers, female or male,” Peter says.
The Association adds that he praised the industry for providing career pathways, rewarding effort, and embracing change.
“Understanding what is important to the people that are engaged, to ensure that all individuals reach their potential in the workplace is a cornerstone of good management and effective culture,” Peter says.
“The future of our industry is about people, diversity, and culture,” he adds. “We sometimes move too slowly but we will always keep moving.”
For more information on the Victorian Transport Association, click here.