In the midst of a skills shortage, for Port Kembla trucking operation Ross Transport it makes no sense for half the potential workforce to be excluded.
The company has doubled down on getting women into the male-dominated trucking industry and in the past 12-18 months has seen six women graduate through the in-house training program to become drivers.
These efforts are starting to turn heads, and last night the business won the top award at the Illawarra & South Coast Local Business Awards.
Business manager True Ross-Sawrey said the accolade confirmed to those in the business that what they were doing was paying off.
"It's nice to be appreciated and know that what we're doing is making a difference," she said.
Prior to the current skills shortage, Ross Transport is no stranger to having a diverse workforce.
The business was started in 1975 by Mrs Ross-Sawyer's grandparents, Frances and Reg Ross before their son Alan took over the reins.
Today, Frances - at 82 years of age - continues to show up to work every day and will do anything that doesn't require a computer. Frances was on hand to receive the award at the presentation at the Fraternity Club and Mrs Ross-Sawrey said having generations of experience assisted the company every day.
"I'll call my Dad for advice on how certain trucks work that I need his experience from or Nan's experience and that's where we work really well together."
With 90 employees and 70 trucks delivering steel and bulk materials up and down the eastern seaboard, Mrs Ross-Sawrey said the business - and the wider industry - was the better for having both genders represented in the workforce.
"Our female drivers would not have gotten as far as they would have without our male trainers, so both are equally important, it's just creating a way that both feel important and there shouldn't be a distinction between the two of them."
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