Lafarge South Africa and Volvo Trucks South Africa have joined forces with other stakeholders to launch the ‘AccelerateHer’ initiative to accelerate women-owned truck operations in the country.
Ten women from KwaZulu-Natal are being selected for the pilot phase of the project, with the intention to replicate and grow it in other areas of operation throughout the country in phases. This initiative is aimed at increasing the number of female owner-drivers rendering a service to Lafarge operations in the area.
The successful applicants will receive intensive three-year training through the Commercial Transport Academy (CTA) as part of Volvo Trucks’ Iron Women heavy commercial driver training programme. The Iron Women programme, which has been running since 2019, will teach the participants how to operate trucks safely, profitably and efficiently, enabling them to ultimately receive their commercial driver qualification.
The participants will also undergo intensive business acumen training to empower them as owner-drivers, with a focus on aspects like technology, finance, entrepreneurship, business and road transport management, as well as labour legislation and HR practices.
They will also be professionally mentored throughout the programme to ensure that they have every chance of success once they gain their qualifications. Once qualified, the new female owner-drivers will be incorporated in the Lafarge KZN operations as active operators.
“We believe that given the correct resources and support, these women-owned transport businesses have the potential to flourish and make a real change in the lives of the participants, their families and their communities,” says Noriko Solomon, Aggregates and ReadyMix Director from Lafarge. Moreover, the Lafarge Procurement Director, Kervin Ali adds: “We understand that this project is another step towards economic inclusion; building accessible and sustainable communities for the future.”
The Volvo trucks will be financed by Volvo Financial Services.
“We’re excited about the new doors that will open for women in transport because of this joint initiative with Lafarge South Africa,” says Marcus Hörberg, Vice President of Volvo Group Southern Africa.
“As a big supporter of the difference women can make in the industry, we are proud and humbled that the Volvo Trucks Iron Women project has been able to develop and grow and make such a lasting impact in many people’s lives.”
Looking to the future, both companies are looking to involve more stakeholders, including provincial and national government in order to expand the reach and impact of the programme.