National Women’s day, on Friday the 9th August, seeks to celebrate women in society’s contribution to achieving freedom in South Africa, and while historically, trucking is a heavily male dominated profession, Volvo Group and SOSNPO believes that there are many benefits of providing opportunities to female drivers in South Africa.
SOSNPO, in collaboration with Volvo Group has created a new unique job opportunity for the many communities SOSNPO is assisting. Volvo Trucks ‘Iron Women’ is one of Volvo Groups ‘seasonal gift initiatives’ which on behalf of its employees contributes to resolve societies’ challenges in the local markets, serving to create prosperity in the communities. The aim of the programme is to enhance the capacity of professional drivers, to improve road safetyand ultimately to enable them to contribute to their future employers’ fleet productivity, safety, profitability and efficiency. This qualification, approved by the Transport Education Training Authority, is based on both theoretical and practical modules. According to research, there are certain areas where women actually outperform their male counterparts in the driving seat. It is widely acknowledged that women have a lower accident ratio, longer tenure and less sick days.
“Volvo is committed to educating women to qualify as heavy-duty commercial truck drivers”,says Marcus Hörberg, Vice President of Volvo Group Southern Africa. “With women severely under-represented in the industry, it is hoped that this initiative will help increase the pool of skilled women drivers in the country. We believe that this project has the potential to affect change in the local transport industry, which will truly benefit from more gender diversity.”
Together with SOSNPO, Volvo Trucks are assisting project to assist with transportation to implement much-needed water solutions in informal settlements and rural communities. Volvo Trucks head of marketing, Valentia Hobbs believes it is incumbent upon large corporations to address the ‘barrier’ that continues to exclude emerging black, and especially black female talent, which SOSNPO initiatives have been focused on for the past year. “Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive. It’s not only a gender issue but a business issue, which is why women empowerment and transformation is at the core of every part of our operations and goals for Volvo as the world’s safest vehicles on the road trucks”.
For the upcoming water and climate change international congress ‘W12’ hosted by SOSNPO and the City of Cape Town in January 2020, Volvo cars are the official transportation Partner. The W12 Congress VIP’s will be shuttled between the venues by female drivers safe in the knowledge that Volvo Cars already have the industry accolade of being the safest vehicles on the road.
Head of Marketing at Volvo Cars South Africa,Charmagne Mavudzi, salutes all those who are helping to close gender gaps and opportunities in the world by empowering women in the economy.
“There’s never been a better time for women to join the industry. With support from business leaders like Volvo Group, we can call attention to the under-representation of women in the transportation industry and highlight the value that women can contribute. As drivers, women can help address the current capacity crunch”