Local Identities

Lawrence teenager Kaitlyn Ward, has recently acquired her HR license and gained employment with local company Daniel and Son Road Transport. Image: Contributed.

Driving the road to success

Kaitlyn Ward is steering herself towards a bright future. After losing her job at the Lawrence Tavern earlier this year due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the determined teenager remained focused on pursuing her dream career. With the help and support of recruitment agency ETC, Miss Ward has achieved her goal. Today, the nineteen-year-old is happily employed as a truck driver at Daniel and Son Road Transport, with a long-term view to working in the mining industry as a heavy vehicle driver, and she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I’ve always been passionate about the transport industry and this is a really great start to my career,” Miss Ward said. “It’s a hard-working job, it teaches me stability and it gives me a set schedule. “I’m really loving it.” Miss Ward had been searching for full time work in the local area since she moved to the Clarence Valley in April, 2019. When ETC, (employment, training and community), was recommended to her earlier this year after she made inquiries about JobSeeker, she was introduced to youth advisor Sam Kent and business relationship advisor Kylie Mears, who collectively helped the enthusiastic teenager prepare to re-enter the workforce. Miss Ward joined ETC’s Transition to Work Program, which helps youths and young adults aged 15-24, to study and gain employment. While participating in the program, ETC arranged for her to undertake a four-week work placement activity at Daniel and Son Road Transport, to gain industry experience. Within several days of her placement, Miss Ward had impressed her hosts so much with her willingness to learn and strong work ethic, they offered her a position at the end of her work experience. Describing Miss Ward as “very driven, passionate and goal orientated,” Ms Kent said she is very proud of the hard-working teenager, and it has been “really good to see her go through work experience and prove herself to be a good asset for her employer.” “She is very passionate about what she does and she was always very goal orientated,” Ms Kent said. “Through the Transition to Work program, we help participants identify career goals, assist with resume writing, interview skills and we also work with them on presentation, language and communication skills. “She (Miss Ward), didn’t need a huge amount of direction, she just needed a bit of extra guidance.” Together, they worked on cover letters which were industry specific for Miss Ward, and presented them to local trucking companies. The enthusiastic teenager was also taken to several local companies within the industry and introduced to potential employers. “She always presented herself professionally and with a confident smile,” Ms Kent said. Kylie Mears, business relationship advisor with ETC, agreed with her colleague. “Miss Ward was so motivated in wanting to achieve her dream,” she said. “When I told her about the work experience, she was so excited and grateful and couldn’t wait to start. “It was so rewarding to see the growth in her from start to finish of her work experience too and her employer was also very engaging and supportive of her.” Ms Kent added it was also rewarding to see the teenager’s commitment come to fruition when she was offered a position with Daniel and Son Road Transport. “She absolutely deserves it and it’s definitely rewarding to see young people join our program, establish goals, establish a career pathway and find employment.” she said. With her dream career now in first gear, Miss Ward is especially thankful to ETC for their guidance and support. “I have honestly never met anyone like them (Ms Kent and Ms Mears) before,” she said. “They really cared and listened to me, checked on me daily while I was doing my work placement and they helped to make this possible.” After accepting her position with Daniel and Son Road Transport following the conclusion of her work placement, ETC assisted Miss Ward in acquiring her HR (heavy rigid) license in June. “She was very determined to become the best HR driver she could be,” Ms Kent said. Along with learning to drive heavy vehicles, Miss Ward has also learned how to load a truck correctly. “Weight wise, it’s very important to know what you can put over the front axel and back axel,” she said, adding she has also learned how to use ratchet straps and pick up speed while working with heavy loads. Simon Wright, supervisor at Daniel and Son Road Transport’s Grafton depot said the teenager has fitted in well with the team and is eager to learn in all areas of transport. “She has a good work ethic and shows initiative with a great personality,” Mr Wright said. “She’s achieved her HR licence and has adapted to this line of work very well and is enjoying her trucking duties.” As she prepares her truck to make the next delivery, Miss Ward is especially thankful to ETC for their support “not only during the Covid-19 pandemic, but for helping me to secure my dream job.” “The Daniels are great people to work for and I’d like to thank them for giving me a shot at a career I love. “If you always have a smile on your face and you have a great attitude, you can achieve anything,” she said.