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Feature Article

Women in Trucking - NZ Express

According to 26-year-old NZ Express driver Samantha Fraser, the only barrier to women getting into the trucking industry is themselves.

Samantha Fraser, NZ Express driver:

I’m Samantha Fraser, I’m 26 years old and I drive for NZ Express Transport in Christchurch. I hold the highest Class-5 licence and I have been driving for NZ express for almost 5 years.

I drive a FUSO 4x2 410hp HDHD with a hammer light lifter; I cart 14.5T on the road.

I got encouraged into the industry through my now husband and my best friend of 16 years. I was working in a café bakery and they would come in for their lunch. They would always come home with awesome work stories and I just wanted to have some of my own.

What I enjoy most is that I get to see different places, different faces, I’m not stuck in one office all day.

They do take a bit to get used to, but once you learn and drive it every day it just becomes second nature. Reversing a trailer – I love it! That’s one thing that I pushed myself to nail and to make sure I could do it.

I believe women are valued in this industry, I feel valued every day. There are more and more women joining the industry — my mum just got her Class-2, and we have six female drivers here at NZ Express.

NZ Express is really good for encouraging us and pushing us to our full potential.

Matt Bruce, NZ Express operations manager:

At NZ Express, what we’re looking for in employees is aptitude and attitude, we feel that everyone can be trained in a suitable position and it’s about wanting to deliver a great customer service for a good company.

We currently employ 65 full-time staff on-site, of that we have 23 of them are female. In our driving fleet, we currently have 40 full-timers with seven of them being female operators.

My advice to other employers around diversifying their workforce or trying to encourage more females into their workforce is to broaden your search.

There are a lot of great, willing and enthusiastic females in other industries; we’ve had operators come from dairy, baking, all over the show really, and they’ve come in with zero experience in the transport industry and are now some of our top-end drivers, which are earning top-end dollars.

Our vision on why we employ a diverse workforce is that – for us, again it’s not about the individual, it’s about the aptitude and attitude that that individual brings to our workplace.

It’s all about pushing yourself and challenging your boundaries.

All the older generation that are at work at the moment, they have been amazing with encouraging me, they’ve definitely taught me and helped me be a better driver.

You’ve just got to show people that you’re keen to learn and there will be people out there that will definitely help you and push you through it.

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