The Iron Women programme has already trained 40 women graduates

Women’s month is done and dusted but that does not mean that industry efforts to empower women has come to a halt.

The next intake of women to be trained by Volvo as commercial vehicle drivers, as part of the companies Iron Women programme, has just started.

“Iron Women is aimed at enhancing the capacity of professional drivers and to ultimately enable them to contribute to their future employers’ fleet safety, profitability, and efficiency. This qualification, which is approved by the Transport Education Training Authority, is based on both theoretical and practical modules,” says Volvo.

Marcus Hörberg, vice president of Volvo Group Southern Africa, said, “Over the past couple of years, the successful Iron Women candidates have proven their worth and are employed by some of the leading transport and logistics companies in South Africa.”

Prof H Mkhize, deputy minister of the Department of Women, Youth and Persons with Disabilities, said, “Whilst transport alone contributes about 6.5% to employment creation in South Africa, women are severely underrepresented in this industry. It is therefore important that we support the establishment of initiatives that will help increase the pool of skilled women drivers in the country”.

The Iron Women forms part of the Women Inspiring Women to Lead in Transport initiative (WIWLT). The latter’s intention is to train 120 female professionals, 300 entrepreneurs and 495 truck drivers over a three-year period.

The initiative, led by the Commercial Transport Academy (CTA), is supported by United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“The reality is that greater participation of women within the sector is important for diversification, yet the last recorded data from StatsSA suggests that women only make up around 17.5% of the working population,” said Nicci Scott, CTA’s founder.

“This reinforces that the sector remains a non-traditional environment for women.”

Source: Tanje Wandrag

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