The new $1.38 million Oz Truck smartphone app supported by the Victorian government has been designed to give female truck drivers the confidence and support they need on the road, in response to demand.
“The Oz Truck App is a great example of TAFEs working with industry in innovative ways – creating great opportunities for Victorians, stronger and more diverse workforces, and addressing skills needs,” minster for Training and Skills Gayle Tierney said.
The Oz Truck app will provide 24/7 emergency support during breakdowns and crashes. It will also incorporate an online forum for drivers for peer support, health and wellbeing information, and petrol station, weighbridge and rest-stop finders.
“The representation of women in Victoria’s freight industry continues to grow and this app is a fantastic example of how we can enhance health and safety and boost the number of women entering the freight industry,” minister for Ports and Freight Melissa Horne said.
The app was developed after Wodonga TAFE research identified negative cultural perceptions of women in the freight and logistics industry. Women reported intimidation and bullying by male counterparts and a desire for more support and training for new female drivers and those of diverse backgrounds.
“We’re proud to launch this new initiative alongside our industry partners – it’s an innovative app that will encourage more women to get involved in the industry and increase its professionalism, safety and diversity,” Wodonga TAFE CEO Phil Paterson said.
The project will be piloted using 5,000 truck drivers from mid-2021 before being rolled out for free to the broader industry.
As part of the Victorian government’s Women Driving Transport Careers program, Wodonga TAFE developed the app in collaboration with Launchpad App Development. They also collaborated with Australia Post, Linfox, Volvo Group Australia, the Australian Trucking Association and Transport Women Australia.
Other initiatives to support women in transport careers include a VET ambassador in schools program, a diversity training program for middle managers in trucking organisations, the creation of a modified heavy vehicle training course and creation of a new truck driver capability framework.
“We’re proud to support this project – which is helping modernise the freight and logistics industry by creating cultural change and providing more support to Victorian women,” minster for Women Gabrielle Williams said.