TANYA De Landelles clearly remembers her first day working in the transport sector.
“My first introduction into the sector was in 1996 where, I was employed as a casual administration clerk,” she said. “When I arrived on site, I quickly established that I was the only female working on this site.”
Ms De Landelles, a Brisbane-based group services manager at Russell Transport, is among those leading the push for greater diversity in the transport sector via the 2020 Teletrac Navman Driving Change Diversity Program.
The campaign, launched off the back of driver shortages in the transport industry, has seen Teletrac Navman partner with the Australian Truck Association to make a positive change.
Together, the two industry bodies are trying to break the stigma that trucking is a male-only industry so more people are encouraged to consider a career in the transport industry.
“I believe that the sector needs the ability to embrace all persons input and look at the variety of knowledge that can be brought to the table, and that ‘it’s a man’s industry’ needs to be dismissed,” she said.
“Over the past 24 years that I have been involved in the industry, I have seen a lot of inspirational women take on the industry, and it is uplifting.
“I also believe that the industry can embrace the folk who have certain disabilities and give them a fulfilling job. This could be as simple as job sharing.”
Ms De Landelles said diversity was about more than gender, being also about race, sexuality, disability or medical.
“We need to find what roles anyone could fulfil and run with it,” she said.
Russell Transport is third-generation family-owned and operated business employing more than 250 staff across three divisions.
Ms De Landelles believes her own story shows the many opportunities that arise for people keen to work in transport.
“I was working in a tyre store as an administration clerk, when the routine delivery driver made a comment one day ‘you would be good in our office’. He said to give him my resume and he would give it to his boss.
“I thought I didn’t have anything to lose so I did. Within four weeks I had an interview and took the plunge and went from a permanent position to a casual position within the government sector of Queensland Rail (Q0Link) at the time,” she said.
“I was looking at my long-term future when I decided to take on the role. It was about improving myself and getting the training I needed to have a career, not just a job. Twenty-four years later I am still involved in the industry.”
Moreover, she is keen to encourage other women to try transport.
“I would definitely encourage other women to join the sector but be prepared for the hard work,” she said.
“Some ideologies are still ‘the man’s industry’ and that some people who have been in the industry a long time still believe women cannot do a job as good as they do. “It comes down to education, knowledge and just giving people a go.”