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Feature Article

Fast-tracking success

A scholarship funded by Fuso NZ and TR Group has propelled Hawke’s Bays’ Sarah Schmidt in her transport career aspirations.

The scholarship, worth $1,145, was set up as part of Fuso NZ’s partnership with Women in Road Transport (WiRT) and exists to help women who face challenges and obstacles in trying to enter the industry.

The funded course provides a fast-track to gaining a Class 2 licence and helps women get their foot in the door of the industry. 

Growing up, Sarah’s sights were always set on making a living as a truck driver.

“I was brought up in a family of truck drivers. My dad has always been one, and my mum has also been driving a truck on her Class 2 licence. Since I was three years old, I was determined to join the ranks,” said Sarah.

Consisting of three sections, the course starts by paying strong attention to fatigue, and how to identify it and deal with it. It then covers all areas relating to the logbook, and the proper procedures around filling it out.

To finish, all participants must then sit a practical assessment to demonstrate their ability behind the wheel. 

“The course was great and helped me a lot,” said Sarah, who sat her Class 2 assessment in Pahiatua.

“Driving the Pahiatua road was a good challenge, and I felt confident after conquering it and putting the knowledge shared by the driving instructor to good use.”

Sarah’s instructor for the course, Matt Wilbore from Master Drive Palmerston North, said the track is great for testing the ability of a driver.

“The Pahiatua road is narrow and features many descending and ascending hills that throw good challenges at the drivers.

“Sarah was noticeably nervous before her practical assessment, but she composed herself and performed strongly on the track,” said Matt.

Currently in her third week working in the office at Tomoana Warehousing in Hawke’s Bay, Sarah will be going for her Class 4 in September and will start driving for them once she achieves her goal of completing her Class 5.

“I want to be able to drive any truck I see,” she said, “The warehouse has said they have a driving position for me once I get that Class 5, so I will keep learning and upskilling until I get there. The Class 2 course has given me the necessary knowledge and foundational skills to accomplish that.”  

With momentum injected from the scholarship, Sarah’s motivation and commitment will help her see these goals through, with the transport sector adding another skilled driver to its increasingly diverse and inclusive industry.

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