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Accelerate Her puts women on the right track

Written by Kgaogelo Letsebe

Lafarge South Africa and Volvo Trucks South Africa have joined forces to launch the AccelerateHer programme, which aims to increase the number of female owner-drivers rendering a service to Lafarge.Women enrolled in the Accelerate Her programme will benefit from a training programme that will equip them for a career in the transport industry.

AccelerateHer will see 10 women in KwaZulu-Natal chosen to participate in the programme’s pilot phase.

The successful candidates will undergo a three-year training course at the Commercial Transport Academy, as part of Volvo Trucks’ Iron Women heavy commercial driver training programme.

The Iron Women programme, which has been running since 2019, teaches participants how to operate trucks safely, profitably and efficiently, in order to obtain a commercial driver qualification. They are also professionally mentored.

Once qualified, the women are incorporated into Lafarge KwaZulu-Natal’s operations, as active operators.

Programme graduate Dorah Lungile Mabaso says the graduates have broken many gender barriers in the industry and more women should come onboard.

“We can affect real change in the industry and challenge the norms, including creating dedicated facilities for female drivers at truck stops and safer operating conditions on long-haul routes,” she says.

The Vice President of Volvo Group Southern Africa, Marcus Hörberg, says the company is excited about the new doors that will open for women in transport because of the initiative.

“As a big supporter of the difference women can make in the industry, we are very proud and humbled that Volvo Trucks’ Iron Women project has developed and grown, and made a lasting impact in many people’s lives,” he adds.

The company aims to extend the programme to other areas of operation, throughout the country, in phases.

“In future, both companies want to involve more stakeholders, including provincial and national government, to expand the programme’s reach and impact,” says Hörberg.

Lafarge’s Aggregates and ReadyMix Director Noriko Solomon says women can only grow from this opportunity.

“We believe that given the correct resources and support, these women-owned transport businesses have the potential to flourish and make real change in their lives and communities.”

For more information about the programme, call Valentia Hobbs at 011 842 5000 or email valentia.hobbs@volvo.com.