December 03, 2018

Transport team celebrates Tasmania's diversity

Diversity might not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of truck drivers, however our Tasmanian Farm Milk Collection team is shaking up the traditional image of its drivers with a crew that comes from all walks of life. 

From young tradespeople starting out, to mums returning to the workforce, and semi-retired drivers looking to impart their wisdom to the next generation, a focus on flexibility has built a workforce that is representative of the broader Tasmanian community.

The team’s commitment to diversity was recently recognised by the Tasmanian Transport Association, picking up the TasRail Workforce Diversity Award at the 2018 TTA Gala Dinner and Awards Night.

The award celebrates the team’s innovative program, which is designed to increase diversity and create a strong succession plan for drivers. Fonterra Milk Transport Manager – Tasmania Bryce Madill says they have achieved this through actively seeking to attract, develop, retain, and promote people from a range of backgrounds, and thinking differently about how they can tailor roles to the candidate.

“When we meet with people we think would be a great fit, we don’t look at their needs as challenges, but as opportunities,” says Bryce.

“For example, someone who may only be able to work a few days a week while they complete their studies might be learning skills that can be applied in our business, or someone who is semi-retired has a wealth of knowledge and experience that they can draw on to help develop younger members of the team.

“It’s helped us to build a healthy, diverse, and engaged workforce that reflects our community.”

The team is also committed to providing a safe and inclusive work environment by providing flexible work arrangements for families, and supporting drivers looking to develop their careers by offering opportunities to work in other parts of the business.

“Milk collection is seasonal work by nature, with more milk produced on farm in the spring months,” says Bryce.

“Previously we’ve relied on contractors and overtime to see us through that spring peak, however, we saw this as an opportunity to offer a 4-8-hour shift in addition to our existing full-time shifts, which can better suit people with young families or empty nesters looking to return to the workforce.”

This commitment to adapting to our peoples’ needs has seen team engagement improve and a reduction in the average age of the Farm Milk Collection workforce from 54 to 47 in just two years.

“We have an amazing Transport team here in Tassie, and I’m so proud of what we’ve been able to achieve together,” says Bryce.

“This award is further recognition that we’re on the right track.”