Annual AZ Training Scholarship Creates a Stronger Gender-Balanced Workforce
Twenty-five years ago, Commercial Heavy Equipment Training Ltd. (CHET) opened its doors as the first truck driving school to be set up for use for any carrier in Ontario. Building a reputation that pushes boundaries when it comes to heavy equipment training and education initiatives, CHET continues to strive for excellence in both education and inclusivity.
Every year, CHET’s parent company, Musket Transport, provides a full scholarship—the annual Musket Funded Female AZ Scholarship—to one lucky winner who receives full funding to complete the AZ Training Program at CHET. Upon successful graduation from the AZ training program, the scholarship recipient has the opportunity to join a dedicated workforce of drivers who are already defying industry stereotypes.
The scholarship is just one way that Musket stands behind its values of gender equality in the transport industry. Historically, women have been somewhat excluded in this industry due to an archaic sense of stereotyping, but Musket has long believed that by empowering women to train and seek employment in the trucking and transport industry, it can open doors and create a better gender balanced workforce.
“For many, it is hard to imagine women in trucking or in [technical roles] in general,” stated Sophia S. Begidzhanov, Corporate Communications Officer for Musket. “Although there has definitely been progress over the last few years, it is still a powerful message to see both genders at work in this industry across all departments.”
Diana was the first ever recipient of the AZ scholarship and shares her insight into how the training helped shape her career: “As a student at CHET and at Musket Transport, I feel confident in taking on the career as a truck driver. From the first day of meeting the team who teach in classroom and in truck training, the instructors are supportive in making sure you succeed and understand the knowledge gained from the classroom to the truck. I noticed pride and professionalism in this company and their goal is for keeping a good reputation in the industry.
“As a woman that had a desire to work as a truck driver for years, Musket put that to reality as they encourage women to the team. I would recommend this company to anyone that has thought about working in the trucking business especially women, to start here and learn the right way the first time.”
This year, the scholarship was awarded to not just one, but to two different women.
Gissela is a university graduate who long pursued a career as an armed security driver. Her experience in that particular field made her proud to be an example to other girls and women when they saw her driving or loading and unloading a truck. This gave her a passion for driving a larger truck where she could travel to other provinces and into the U.S. “I hope to be part of the small percentage of women at CHET/Musket Transport changing the face of what a truck driver looks like,” says Gissela, “and who continue to succeed in male dominated industries.”
Shira comes from a non-profit office-based background and had been searching for a career change. Determined to never work in an office again, she felt drawn to the trucking world as someone who naturally enjoys driving and wanted to see more of our beautiful country through her work. “I appreciate that each day of driving might present new challenges and adventures,” says Shira. “I love that idea that at the end of the week, there will be objective evidence of what I’ve accomplished.”
Part of the reason for offering the scholarship was to help break down the barrier of entry into this industry. Truck driving is not considered a skilled trade by the federal government, which unfortunately prevents a lot of women from pursuing a career in this sector due to the lack of support funding.
The scholarship is open to applicants from January to February each year with the winner announced in March. Those interested can find more information on CHET’s website at https://chet.ca/.
Through Musket’s marketing initiatives to encourage more women to enter the transport industry or even just look at it as an option, and the annual scholarship, the company aims to continue to work hard to normalize the presence of women in their fleet and industry.
ABOUT MUSKET TRANSPORT:
A reputable transportation and logistics company, Musket Transport Ltd. has been serving Ontario-based companies for over 25 years, providing them the confidence of knowing their products will get where they need to go anywhere in North America.
Commercial Heavy Equipment Training Ltd. (CHET) was formed over two decades ago, in 1997, as a subsidiary of Musket Transport Ltd. to provide a high caliber of training to the industry through its graduates. Our focus is on nurturing skills, safety, and training to ensure students succeed in their chosen profession.