A new all-female driving school being piloted by Transdev in Melbourne, Australia is helping Elizabeth Beerworth realize 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 license for long enough, then my children and work took priority and I had to put my dream of becoming a bus driver on hold.
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 licenses to become bus drivers in a safe, supportive environment designed to increase the number of female bus drivers at Transdev in 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. »
We believe our organization 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.
Jane Murray, Head of Customer Experience and Communication for Transdev in Melbourne
The all-female driving school is a tailored version of Transdev’s Journey Maker Academy, an initiative developed in Australia to help people from outside the transport industry become bus drivers. The program is primarily targeted at people with car licenses and strong customer service backgrounds, who are then supported in gaining the heavy vehicle license required to drive a bus.
Since 2018, Transdev in 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’s six depots in Melbourne.
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 transportation industry.
Transdev is also partnering with other organizations partners on industry-wide initiatives to recruit more women into bus driving roles, including working with the Transportation 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.