Kamo Touch-A-Truck competition winner Rhianna Caie. Photo / Michael Cunningham
A Whangārei woman has quickly earned her trucking and forklift licences for free after winning a local competition worth over $1000.
Rhianna Caie, 22, attended the training with Forward Transport Training and passed both courses with flying colours.
Caie won the competition at the seventh annual Kamo Touch-A-Truck fundraiser for the Ngunguru and Kamo volunteer fire brigades in January, which was dubbed one of the best yet.
“I’ve always wanted my Class 2, just to improve my licence a bit, and then somehow I woke up to a phone call saying, ‘You’ve won your Class 2 and forklift’.
“It was a bit of a surprise,” Caie said.
The prizes of a Class 2 driver’s licence course were sponsored by Mainfreight Whangārei, and an OSH&F Forklift course was sponsored by Forward Transport Training.
Caie was presented with her certificates at the newly renovated Mainfreight Offices in Whangārei last week.
Forward Transport Training trainer and assessor Steve O’Brien said women in trucking were a growing force, and it was exciting to gift the licensing package to a young woman.
“Whether you’re a man or a woman, size is no issue here. For ladies to come into the industry, it’s huge,” O’Brien said.
Being inside a truck isn’t exactly a new experience for Caie, whose father has been a truck driver since she was two years old.
“During the holidays when I was in school, I used to jump on the truck with him, so I sort of got influenced by him.”
Caie is currently a stay-at-home mum with her two children, Sam, two, and Zach, who’s almost one.
“It’s pretty expensive, and being a single mother, I couldn’t really afford to do it without someone chipping in and helping me,” Caie said.
Caie said the licence makes her feel positive about her future career opportunities.
“Mainfreight offered me a job – I’m not looking for one for six months or so, but I can easily come back here … and they’ll chuck me on the truck the next day.”
It’s exciting driving something bigger than a car, Caie says, but she also enjoys the social side of driving trucks.
“Customers are always thankful. It’s a positive outcome for someone else,” Caie said.