Lafarge South Africa and Volvo Trucks South Africa have joined forces with other stakeholders to launch the AccelerateHer initiative to accelerate women-owned truck operations in the country.
Ten women from KwaZulu-Natal will be selected for the pilot phase of the project, with the intention to replicate and grow it in other areas of operation throughout the country in phases. This ground-breaking initiative is aimed at increasing the number of female owner-drivers rendering a service to Lafarge operations in the area.
The successful applicants will receive intensive three-year training through the Commercial Transport Academy (CTA) as part of Volvo Trucks’ Iron Women heavy commercial driver training programme. The Iron Women programme, which has been running since 2019, will teach the participants how to operate trucks safely, profitably, and efficiently, enabling them to ultimately receive their commercial driver qualification.
The participants will also undergo intensive business acumen training to empower them as owner-drivers, with a focus on aspects like technology, finance, entrepreneurship, business and road transport management, as well as labour legislation and HR practices. They will also be professionally mentored throughout the programme to ensure that they have every chance of success once they gain their qualifications.
Once qualified, the new female owner-drivers will be incorporated in the Lafarge KZN operations as active operators.
“We believe that given the correct resources and support, these women-owned transport businesses have the potential to flourish and make a real change in the lives of the participants, their families and their communities,” said Noriko Solomon, Aggregates and ReadyMix Director from Lafarge. Moreover, the Lafarge Procurement Director, Kervin Ali added, “We understand that this project is another step towards economic inclusion; building accessible, and sustainable communities for the future.”
The Volvo trucks will be financed by Volvo Financial Services.
“We are excited about the new doors that will open for women in transport because of this joint initiative with Lafarge South Africa,” said Marcus Hörberg, Vice President of Volvo Group Southern Africa. “As a big supporter of the difference women can make in the industry, we are very proud and humbled that the Volvo Trucks Iron Women project has been able to develop and grow and make such a lasting impact in many people’s lives.
Looking to the future, both companies are looking to involve more stakeholders, including provincial and national government, in order to expand the reach and impact of the programme.
About Lafarge South Africa
One of South Africa’s leading building materials companies, Lafarge South Africa, manufacturers and supplies the local construction industry with cement, ready-mixed concrete, aggregates and fly ash products. Its strong presence in all of these business lines is combined with a unique holistic approach to any project. This differentiates the company in the market by enabling it to offer integrated building solutions and help for sustainable development.
About Volvo Trucks
Volvo Trucks supplies complete transport solutions for discerning professional customers with its full range of medium- and heavy-duty trucks. Customer support is provided via a global network of dealers with 2,300 service points in more than 130 countries. Volvo trucks are assembled in 13 countries across the globe, including South Africa. In 2020, approximately 94,000 Volvo trucks were delivered worldwide. Volvo Trucks is part of the Volvo Group, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks, buses, construction equipment and marine and industrial engines. The group also provides complete solutions for financing and service. Volvo Trucks’ work is based on the core values of quality, safety and environmental care.