A new all-female driving school being piloted by Transdev Melbourne is helping Elizabeth Beerworth realise a lifelong dream of being a bus driver.
“I always wanted to be a bus driver. I applied when I was in my twenties but didn’t have my licence for long enough, then my children and work took priority and I had to put my dream of becoming a bus driver on hold” says Elizabeth.
The Transdev initiative aims to encourage more women to consider careers as bus drivers and help reach its goal of 40% female bus drivers by 2030.
The first intake for the all-female driving school commenced in early March and offers a tailored program for women who hold car licences to become bus drivers in a safe, supportive environment designed to increase the number of female bus drivers at Transdev Melbourne.
For Elizabeth, who has always been passionate about driving and has previously worked in the health sector, the all-female driving school came at the perfect time saying; “Now that my children are older, it is a perfect opportunity for me to get behind the wheel and follow my dream."
Jane Murray, Head of Customer Experience and Communication, Transdev Melbourne said, “We believe our organisation should reflect the communities we serve. Our experience tells us most women don’t consider careers in the transport industry because they may not be aware of the opportunities that exist.
“However, many women have experience in customer service and community-based roles which makes them the ideal candidate to become a bus driver. At a time when COVID-19 has seen many people lose their employment, the transport industry offers secure, ongoing employment opportunities and competitive salaries.”
The all-female driving school is a tailored version of Transdev’s Journey Maker Academy, an initiative developed to help people from outside the transport industry become bus drivers. The program is primarily targeted at people with car licences and strong customer service backgrounds, who are then supported in gaining the heavy vehicle licence required to drive a bus.
Since 2018, Transdev Melbourne has recruited 132 bus drivers via its Journey Maker Academy program. As part of the initiative to attract and retain female bus drivers, Transdev has also launched a women’s network, designed to create a support network of female employees across Transdev Melbourne’s six depots.
The network promotes development opportunities for women, and acts as a platform for women in the business to connect and support each other and discuss solutions to some of the issues women face after entering the transport industry.
Transdev is also partnering with other organisations partners on industry-wide initiatives to recruit more women into bus driving roles, including working with the Transport Workers Union to identify women from the aviation industry who have lost jobs as a result of COVID-19 and could retrain as bus drivers.
Find out more about the initiative here.