The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has hit the already faltering SA economy hard, causing a jobs bloodbath that has pushed the country to a record unemployment rate.
One of the hardest hit groups has been women. According to the National Income Dynamics Study-Coronavirus Rapid Mobile Survey (Nids-Cram), approximately two million of the jobs lost since the pandemic hit were held by women.
Innovative Learning Solutions managing director Arnoux Maré is hoping to help those women who have found themselves jobless, and believes there’s an opportunity for them in the transport sector.
“The transport industry is a viable option for women looking for a stable working environment,” Maré said.
According to Nids-Cram, the transport sector lost about 17,000 jobs due to the pandemic. Maré said these were ideal conditions for women to enter the sector.
“Through professional truck driver training programmes, such as the ones we provide, more women can fill up thse vacancy gaps and secure their futures,” he said.
Maré said outdated gender stereotypes had been discouraging women from entering the industry for many years, but perceptions were starting to change.
He said that studies had found women truck drivers were better at lowering running costs such as fuel consumption and mechanical failure, as well as outperforming male drivers with regards to safety and adherence to road rules.
“Like any industry, the transport sector has challenges that workers often have to overcome such as long hours and working in solitude.
“But routes, deliveries and the overall logistics of the industry are designed around the driver to mitigate fatigue and increase safety,” Maré said.
Maré said that encouraging women to enter more male-dominated industries such as transport would not only grant them economic empowerment, but also boost the country’s economy overall.
“As more women look outside their normal scope of employment, the transport industry should be one of the industries in their line of vision.
“The sector offers amazing benefits and provides job security at a time when the unemployment rate is so high, especially for women,” he said.