Last month we addressed the slowly growing trend toward integrating women into the trucking and freight transportation industry. At CHET, we’re dedicated to learning how to recruit female students as well as retain and effectively integrate employees, including women. That’s why we attended the Women with Drive 2016 Leadership Summit on March 3 for the second year.
But all industry leaders that are seriously committed to integrating women into the trucking workforce know that you can’t address the issue once a year. It’s critical to take the barriers to success, best practices and lessons learned back with you, and integrate them into your programs and policies. Only then will you create momentum and begin to change the demographic of the workplace.
So, what is CHET doing to support women in the industry?
Opening Our Doors to MicroSkills
On Feb 26, CHET provided a facility tour to 12 women from MicroSkills, and it was a great success. MicroSkills – also known as the Community MicroSkills Development Centre – is a non-profit organization serving Toronto and surrounding areas that provides settlement, employment, and self-employment services to individuals, with priority to the needs of immigrants, youth, visible minority people, and low-income women. The organization runs programs designed to develop clients’ skills, broaden their information base, and facilitate opportunities to use newly acquired skills and knowledge to secure employment in the Canadian workforce.
Our parent company Musket Transport Ltd. has a relationship with MicroSkills and has provided them tours in the past. This year, MicroSkills Project Coordinator Rodica Lefter reached out to us requesting a facility tour for 12 women who are presently in training to become truck drivers.
The tour, given by Sophia, David and Phil – 3 members of the CHET / Musket team – was aimed at providing the women with greater familiarity with the industry. After picking the women up from the MicroSkills office in Etobicoke, we drove them to our headquarters where they learned about the operations and support staff who work behind the scenes in the trucking industry. After our General Manager shared information with them, we gave them an office tour and moved on to our Southdown Terminal also known as the container yard. Jaime Rosa, the General Manager of all Musket Transport Ltd. divisions, accompanied us and helped arrange for Kirk, a crane operator, to demonstrate his daily duties. The women were also shown how our truck simulator works and we demonstrated what a real simulator driver evaluation is like. The visitors expressed their gratitude for an opportunity to increase their knowledge and get a first-hand look at the industry.
What else is CHET doing to improve women’s involvement in the industry?
In addition to participating in the annual Women with Drive Leadership Summit and providing guided tours of our facilities to groups from MicroSkills, we also work hard to ensure that there is a gender-balance represented in our promotional material. Take a look at the Musket Recruiting card. It showcases the real demographic we employ.
You can also see the representation of women in our new official CHET video. The video features real CHET students, who are now all graduates of the program.
In addition to our official video, we’ve also recorded 4 CHET video testimonials from our students – now graduates – two of which are females.
These efforts reflect a conscious effort to make clear that we welcome women into our programs and that, like their male counterparts, they thrive and go on to secure lucrative employment with growth opportunities upon graduation.
When CHET made a presentation to the City of Hamilton and Ontario Works, our team brought one of our female students who graduated the program and was hired by Musket Transport Ltd after graduating. The women in attendance at the presentation appreciated that we brought a female student who could share her success story and is now integrated into the industry.
Because many women at job fairs and training expos are often still hesitant about joining the trucking industry, it’s important they see that other women before them have already blazed a trail and are working successfully in a variety of positions. All female students and drivers have reported facing no issues as women in the industry. They acknowledge that what qualifies a person as suitable for driving is their personality, knowledge and skill, not their size or brute strength.
One of the students featured in the CHET video is Maria. She was 18 when she trained with us and has a petite frame, but that has not hindered her ability to execute her responsibilities. Along with being 18 or older, securing a G license, and developing the right skill-set, what does it really take to succeed as a truck driver?
It’s simple: You need to like being behind the wheel on the road.