By Mariana Esquivel
Marketing Manager – TMI Simulation Solutions
In today’s environment, a comprehensively trained driver does not only contribute to road safety but also to the productivity of the transport industry and the country’s economy. The challenges of road freight companies in South Africa have a huge impact on consumers, employees, companies and the economy – all already affected deeply by the COVID-19 Pandemic resulting in a rise of unemployment.
Stats SA reviews that unemployment rose from 28.47% in 2019 to 34.4% in 2021. When looking at the statistics in detail, the highest concentration of unemployment is in young people (from 15 to 34 years), making one of every two young people unemployed in Q1: 2021.
In addition, women in South Africa and around the world still face additional challenges that delay them from accessing employment. The rate of unemployment among women, at 48,7%, was 8,1 percentage points higher than among their male counterparts in the 2nd quarter of 2021.
When analysing the roots of this problem, we could not help but to ask: “What steps have we taken as a company to ensure we offer better employment opportunities to women and youth in South Africa? Are we keeping faithful to our core essence and values?”
Our first approach was to say that education and prior work experience must be accessible to all but this mission is not an easy task to perform. It does require a collaborative effort and also an inspiring one. Therefore, we went to look at what women do in the transport sector currently and we were amazed to see that many women leaders in the transport sector have taken the initiative to change the mind-set of women.
A change of mind-set does not only involve the change in women and the youth in South Africa but the people that make decisions – the employers that have not questioned their involvement in the South African economy and labour practices. For us, the task is to collaborate and ally with other South African businesses and government entities to share our common initiatives but the task does not just remain there.
TMI Simulation Solutions and Drivio dreams of high-skilled youth employment in our communities and for us, the solution is to offer a high-skilled training programme for professional drivers and Fleet Managers. Our vision is to offer an innovative driver training programme that does not only rely on practical training but the use of the latest simulation technologies that enable a blended and effective learning experience that reaches over 90% of retention in the trainee.
Of course, to be able to speed up the mind-set change, it is necessary to share the stories of women who have added leadership initiatives and keep working to lower the boundaries for women in transport. To this end, we organised a morning of interaction between women where our guest speakers shared their living testimonies of change and contribution to a sustainable transport industry. Under the banner of ‘Women in Transport, we were honoured to have on board:
- Women in Road Transport and Safety
Petro Kruger is a co-founder of the Road Safety Foundation. She has headed up the Public and International Affairs Division from 2000 and later rolled out several road safety campaigns in South Africa and rest of Africa. She has great experience with FIA and WHO on several road safety programmes.
- Women in Driver Training
Cindy Shongwe, is a Senior Lecturer at the Road Traffic Management Corporation College and trainer in the Road Traffic Management Corporation. Her lectures on new qualifications for new traffic officers nationally include: Road Safety, Examiners for driving licenses; Traffic orientation module and other legislations. She is currently completing her master’s degree in Public Administration in UP.
- Women Entrepreneurship in Transport Sector
Kathy Bell is the head of Transport Solutions and Asset Finance at Standard Bank. She has a wealth of expertise as a transport industry specialist and has made a huge impact in the transport industry over the past years. She is a persistent promoter of a sustainable transport industry.
- Women in Road Traffic Management
Venda Mamabolo has more than 10 years’ experience in traffic law enforcement and has been with the Road Traffic Infringement Agency for the past six years. Her key responsibilities are stakeholder management and managing all AARTO implementing stakeholders. She collaborated in the paper ‘The importance of exposure data for a comprehensive accident database’ presented at the 30th Annual Southern African Transport Conference 11-14 July 2011 “Africa on the Move”
- Women in Transport Business and Motorsport Industry
Clare Vale is the first female driver to participate in the Supadrift Series. After moving between circuit racing and drifting during the 2012 season, she is now focusing on National drifting. Off circuit, Clare is a director of The Truck Man in Boksburg, dealers in used trucks and trailers. She has taken on the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre – De Wildt as a personal cause and is a past President of MSA’s (Motorsport South Africa) Women in Motorsport Panel. She has been nominated twice for the Colin Watling Award for service to motorsport.
Women in Transport was not only an event where we shared women initiatives in the Transport Sector but where we also demonstrated what holistic driver training encompasses.
Women in Transport is just the beginning of an initiative to share knowledge and promote accessible training and employment for women, youth and professionals that seek to flourish in the transport industry.
What initiatives has your organisation developed to empower women and youth in the South Africa transport sector? Share with us your stories of courage. Each story is an invaluable step to achieve change. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org