Scania promotes greater female participation in transport

By: Greg Bush, Photography by: Greg Bush

In recognition of International Women’s Day, Scania showed off the transport industry to 40 female high school students in Brisbane

Some of the Glenala State High School Students on International Womens Day at Scania Richlands branch.

Forty female high school students from Glenala State School in Brisbane were the guests of Scania on International Women’s Day on March 8 in a bid to promote career opportunities for women within the truck and bus industry.

Under the banner of ‘Women in the Workshop’, the Scania Richlands branch opened its doors for the students, offering glimpses of truck driving, truck maintenance, vehicle diagnostics and other career pathways.

Scania apprentices Shani Byrnes and Jessie Woehrle were also on hand to pass on their knowledge as well as outlining their experiences since joining the organisation.

Jessie, an apprentice technician, works in the area of used truck maintenance. It’s a far cry from her previous employment as a beauty therapist.

"This is more of a challenge and that’s what I wanted," she says. "I wanted more of a career challenge and I wanted to get a hard job so I can prove that I can do it.

"Scania is a really great company and there are a lot of opportunities."

Jessie plans to undertake further training in the parts division after completing her apprenticeship.

Scania apprentices Shani Byrnes and Jessie Woehrle.

Shani Byrnes, on the other hand, previously worked as a light vehicle mechanic. "I did it for two years but it wasn’t for me," she says.

Currently just over six months into an apprenticeship as a spare parts interpreter, Shani feels she has been given a great opportunity with Scania.

"I love it; my training’s paid for, and if I feel like if I’m under pressure they don’t judge me for it."

As per other Scania apprentices, Shani plans to obtain her forklift ticket before going for her truck licence.

Glenala State High School is noted for its Trade Skills Centre with opportunities for Year 11 and 12 students to add a heavy vehicle stream to their Certificate 2 Automotive Vocational Preparation course.

Despite being in Year 10, Kate Crowdy was one such student currently enrolled in that course, so she was keen to attend the Women in the Workshop day at Scania Richlands.

Kate has her eyes on a diesel mechanic apprenticeship and she came away impressed with the Scania trucks and the variety of vocations within the organisation.

"If it doesn’t work out for me, there’s always driving trucks or admin," Kate says, although she admits she’s more hands-on.

Another student, Trenyce Napier is no stranger to trucks. Her dad and one of her uncles drive trucks, while an aunt works in the truck maintenance field.

"I never really had an interest until I came along today, Trenyce admits. "So it was very interesting to see how to fix the truck and the different sectors.

"I’ve been in a truck but I’ve never driven around in one before."

After sitting inside a Scania cab, Trenyce was fascinated with the layout. "They’re very advanced; you can even put coffee machines in them."

Glenala State HIgh School's head of department Sharina Gibney (centre) with students Kate Crowdy (left) and Trenyce Napier (right).

Scania’s People and Culture director, Michele Gellatly, says the day was all about recognising women in the workforce, but also to encourage the organisation to celebrate the women it already has.

"We’ve got some really wonderful women doing some very wonderful jobs and I think sometimes we don’t stop and focus on that," Michele says.

"We’ve got women doing jobs that in most other organisations similar to ours would be done by men.

"And I think we’ve got to proud of that."

Michele believes the Glenala students’ eyes have been opened to something new. She also believes times are changing with more women taking up roles within the heavy transport industry.

"Five years ago girls would never ever have been on an excursion from school to a workshop without the boys," she says.

"I think it’s about making sure people don’t limit themselves based on their gender or their background."

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