ALC rolls out mentoring program to attract women

By: Jason Whittaker

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) is rolling out a mentoring initiative for women following the success of a pilot program

The Australian Logistics Council (ALC) is rolling out a mentoring initiative for women following the success of a pilot program which drew support from some of the industry’s biggest players.

20 women from 16 different transport and logistics companies have just graduated with TAFE qualifications under its Moving Women Forward program.

The pilot involved Kagan Logistics, Mannway, Queensland Rail, Patrick, Simon National Carriers and Bluescope Steel.

The program is designed to attract and retain women in the transport and logistics industry and to assist them in reaching managerial positions.

And with an aging workforce dominated by males, ALC Chairman Ivan Backman says women are a key front in beating skills shortages.

"As a traditionally male dominated environment, with an estimated 75 percent of the transport and logistics workforce being men, combined with growing skills shortages, it is vital we as an industry encourage the attraction and retention of women in key roles," he says.

According to Backman, Moving Women Forward will go a long way in achieving this aim, and will now begin in earnest following the 10-week pilot program which was run mostly in Queensland.

The ALC’s program director, Melinda Buker, says the women involved have all gained key skills and valuable experience that will drive their careers forward in the industry.

Speaking at the launch, Buker encouraged companies to get involved in the national rollout, adding there is an additional sweetener to helping women gain a foothold in an industry which is made up by about 75 percent of males.

"Women without prior qualifications or with qualifications older than seven years will be eligible for government funding and receive a TAFE Certificate 4 on completion of this course," Buker says.

The ALC has also committed to administering the program on a company’s behalf to reduce any burden.

Maureen Frank, who was involved in the pilot, says women play an important role in the industry, citing statistics which show women in managerial positions raise a company’s profitability by about 30 percent.

"They have significant value to bring to the transport and logistics industry," she says.

In launching the initiative, Backman noted the significant gains women have made in the industry since he first became involved in transport and logistics 40 years ago.

"About 30 years ago the only job women did was clerical," Backman says.

"There is now much more of a presence of ladies."

While congratulating the 20 women, Backman urged them to use what they have learnt to benefit the industry as well as their own professional development.

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