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Driving gender diversity into mine sites with Go West

Wednesday 23 November 2022

There’s more gender diversity behind the wheel than ever before at Go West, a bus operator in Western Australia responsible for collecting customers from the airport, taking them to their camp, and then directly on and into mine sites, and around town.

Go West General Manager David Haoust said females on their team had doubled over the last 3 years, with their team agreeing that working FIFO is not gender specific.

“We have professionals driving into the depths of the mine pit itself – it’s a role that comes with greater responsibility and attention to safety than standard coach and shuttle work,” Mr Haoust said.

According to Mr Haoust, over 30% of their team are now female, with bus drivers coming from a huge range of backgrounds, for example, one of Go West’s drivers is a trained physiotherapist.

“She really disliked the computer and administration part of her work and now she loves her new job - it gives her time to meditate, and her motto is “I swapped out a small screen for a big one!’.”

Go West team members work a two-weeks-on/one-week-off roster, with all accommodation and flights paid for.

“Given people come from all types of backgrounds, we assist with accreditation including a Passenger Transport Driver Authority and a Heavy Rigid (HR) Licence, which means anyone with a passion for people, safety and customer service can embrace and enjoy the FIFO lifestyle benefits.

“We hear personal stories from our team and there are always comments about the amazing scenery on the job, being out on the road and enjoying nature, wildlife and Indigenous culture as part of their every day, as well as a sense of camaraderie and belonging but there’s more to it,” he said.

Mr Haoust recounted the experience of a single mum with an empty nest.

“With a grown-up child and being single and middle-aged, she said that working FIFO provides her with easy company and socialisation. She said she keeps fit by using the gym and facilities in town and eating healthily, noting that they don’t need to spend any money while at camp. She said she has a strong sense of belonging as part of our team and appreciation from our clients for her contribution” he said.

Mr Haoust said the accommodation facilities, great pay, and being away from the ‘rat race’ plus the warm weather also appealed to team members – regardless of gender.

“They say there’s no life admin work to do here, and there’s time to research or plan trips. Working split shifts gives them additional time to relax during the day. And they love driving the actual buses, as they’re big, beautiful and clean!”

Go West also provides additional bus services for specialised and regular shut down work, scaling in size to cater to hundreds of extra clients. The company boasts a fleet of full-size new coaches, smaller coaster buses and specialised 4WD buses.

“We are proud to have a team who love what they do, and we’re pleased to offer an alternative way of life that supports the mining industry and creates a sense of belonging in people’s home away from home,” he said.

Go West is part of the Kelsian Group and Clint Feuerherdt, Group Chief Executive Officer said he is pleased to see more gender diversity across the bus business nationally.

“We have an increasing number of females taking up positions as mechanics and drivers, and we’re proud to offer a convenient and flexible career and lifestyle option,” he said.

Mr Feuerherdt added that a global team of transport and tourism experts support the company’s mining operations.

“With extensive experience in tailoring tourism and transport solutions to unique operating conditions, factoring in the transit of both people and equipment to islands and across cities, while developing efficient schedules and timetables, we are uniquely placed to work with mining partners to create custom fleet and network operation outcomes.

“We offer scalable operations, fleet management, and global network experience with a focus on safety, making us a reliable transport partner for our government and mining clients,” he said.