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Inside the Women Up Front pioneers driving Kinetic’s Gold Coast network

Australasian bus and coach operator Kinetic is recognising its inaugural candidates of its Women Up Front campaign.

After coming together two years’ ago to participate in the first trainee bus driver program, the members are now taking control of the network and playing a key role in keeping the Gold Coast connected.

Among the first cohort of trainees participating in the Women Up Front pilot on the Gold Coast in 2021 were Bernadette Douglas, Jasmine Kowal and Desiraye Hau.

They’re now fully licensed and confident behind the wheel after a three-week induction, access to mentors, licensing courses and a nationally recognised 12-month training qualification.

Hau previously managed event catering at major Gold Coast stadiums, with her highlight being to drive her own child’s school bus.

She is now the network controller in the 24/7 Operations Control Centre (OCC) in Molendinar and working at the heart of Kinetic’s Gold Coast operations.

“I love taking on new challenges, that’s what attracted me to Women Up Front in the first place, so getting to support operations across the Gold Coast in the OCC has been wonderful,” Hau says.

From left to right: Douglas, Kowal and Hau

“It’s amazing to think that two years ago I’d never driven a bus before and now I’m in control of the network. Jumping on the radio every day and helping our drivers keep the Gold Coast connected is a special feeling.”

Then there’s Douglas, who commenced as a school bus driver and progressed to route services before becoming a driver trainer and eventually Operations Controller at Kinetic’s Coomera depot.

“The support I’ve received since joining Kinetic has been incredible and I’ve really enjoyed the opportunity to work in the training and operations teams,” Douglas says.

“You get to meet so many amazing people in this role and I love the challenge of working in such a fast-paced environment where no two days are the same.”

The final original is Kowal, who is a driver at the Molendinar depot after previously being a construction industry manager.

Kowal wanted to learn a new skill that would allow her to travel and work anywhere in Australia, while her passion for volunteering was met by Kinetic.
“I’ve volunteered a lot throughout my life and being a bus driver is another way I can give back to the local community,” she says.

“There’s nothing better than getting behind the wheel, meeting new people and helping passengers get to where they need to go safely.”

Since the initial 2021 pilot, the program has been adopted across Kinetic’s Australian operations as a key way of meeting the company’s goal of achieving 50 per cent female drivers by 2030.

Kinetic says Women Up Front has helped welcome 100 women to the business this year, including 12 candidates through the inaugural Tasmanian program.

“At Kinetic, we want our workforce to match the diversity of the communities we serve and Women Up Front is a key initiative helping us shift gender inequality and increase female participation in the industry,” Kinetic head of people and culture Adrianna Quinn says.

“This year alone, more than 100 women have completed car-to-bus licence upgrades through Kinetic and I’m excited to see these numbers keep rising as the program continues to grow.”

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