Comment: Young people inspire at TMC Trucking Show

By: Meryn Morrison, WiRT chairperson

A number of young people scoped out the trucking industry at the TMC Trucking Show in Christchurch

With gleaming chrome and shiny paintwork, trucks were the stars at the recent TMC Trucking Show in Christchurch. However, just as significant for me were the number of young people scoping out the industry for a future career, and it was fantastic that Women in Road Transport (WiRT) could be there to welcome them into our industry. 

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Friday, which was billed as Careers Day at the show, was unfortunately a bit wet and gloomy, but it was inspiring to see so many young people and school groups who turned up for the event. Having been involved in road transport for a long time now, particularly around recruitment and retention of staff, I was impressed with the high calibre of the school students who were there and the interest they had in the ins and outs of road transport.

The way they interacted with representatives from the various industry organisations was a real credit to themselves, their teachers, and career advisors, and gives me plenty of hope for the future.

Upon talking to a number of the teachers who attended the event, it was apparent that they were surprised at the scope and professionalism involved in the many areas that make up the industry. They didn’t realise many of the modern trucks on the road were automatics and had so many computers and bits of electronic wizardry in them.

The amount of technology at the heart of many of the automotive support businesses also surprised them, which goes to show that as a whole, our industry hasn’t done a great job of advertising who we are, what we do, and how we do it.

When it came to specific careers within the industry, it was a group of girls from Darfield College who were most interested in becoming drivers while several boys from Shirley Boys High were keen on going down the engineering and mechanics paths.

The general feeling from all the students I talked to was how impressed they were with the expertise and money on display at the show. They were also encouraged by the opportunities that are available straight out of school without the need to rack up huge student loans. Somewhat surprising to me was how positively they all viewed travel as an aspect of the job. We are often told that the constant travel of a long-haul truck driver is a turn-off. Maybe we need to think again.

The gods finally smiled on us for the public day on Saturday and the Show ’N’ Shine competition, truck relay, and all the other events were a sight to behold. The big crowd enjoyed it and so did all of us at WiRT. We can’t wait to be back in 2020.

Finally, a big congratulations to Debbie Paterson and Samantha Fairbrass from NZ Express and Ange Butler from Talleys for the awards they won in the Show ’N’ Shine competition.

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