Momentum continues to grow for Kinetic’s Women Up Front trainee bus driver program in Queensland, with women making up a quarter of new driver recruits in the Sunshine state over the past six months.
Kinetic says it’s targeting 50 per cent female bus drivers by 2030, with the Women Up Front program aiming to attract more diversity into the industry by providing training, qualifications and support for those seeking a rewarding career.
Recent graduate Leisa St Clair says she jumped at the opportunity to get behind the wheel and is now driving night route services across the Gold Coast.
“If you asked me 12 months ago, I never would have thought I’d be a bus driver, but here I am, and I absolutely love it,” St Clair says.
“No two days are the same and I love playing my part in my community by making sure everyone gets home safe at the end of their day.
“My family have been able to visit me at work and my young kids also think it’s pretty cool to have a mum that is driving a big bus!
“Driving night shifts is something I really enjoy and having a female driver mentor and manager has also made it easy to challenge myself and explore this new career in a supportive environment. I’m really excited to be part of the team.”
Launched on the Gold Coast in 2021, the Women Up Front program has now been rolled out across Kinetic operations nationally.
In the past three months, the program has trained new bus drivers in Cairns, Townsville, Mackay, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast. More women will soon join them with the program now a core recruitment focus.
The program offers a three-week induction, access to mentors, licensing courses and a nationally recognised twelve-month training qualification.
Kinetic executive general manager for North and South-East Queensland Martin Hall says the latest recruits are already on the road greeting students, helping drive charters and supporting local residents on their daily commute.
“We are really pleased that a program we piloted here on the Gold Coast is now succeeding across the country in attracting more people into a rewarding career in transport,” Hall says.
“We have a long way to go but we are committed to ensuring everyone feels safe and supported each day at work, and driving diversity among our team benefits not only our immediate team but also the communities we serve.
“Bus driving hasn’t always been an obvious career choice for women, so it’s important we’re providing those with the right attitude and community focus the appropriate training and support to feel confident behind the wheel.
“This is about creating systemic and sustainable change across our workforce and industry and this is a great first step for anybody who is considering a career change.”
This year alone more than 200 women have joined Kinetic through the Women Up Front program.