FRESH NEW LOOK: Rachael Topp has swapped her cosmetic kit for a truck cab and is loving every minute.
FRESH NEW LOOK: Rachael Topp has swapped her cosmetic kit for a truck cab and is loving every minute.

Meet the make-up artist turned truckie

GETTING behind the wheel of a truck is a world away from the role of a make-up artist, but that didn’t stop Rachael Topp.

One day she came across a story prompting women to ‘get behind the wheel’ and jumped at the opportunity.

“My brother in law is a truck driver. He actually works for Linfox and loves the company. I was in a completely different industry and I just needed a change. He showed me the yard and here we are,” said Rachael.

It wasn’t quite that easy, as for every four or eight available positions there have been 2-300 people apply.

The program is a joint venture between Wodonga Tafe, Volvo and Transport Women Australia. The project partners have been Linfox, Australia Post/Star Track, Alex Fraser Hansen and Main Freight.

Philippa Stewart, strategic communications and PR Manager for Volvo Group Australia, left, and Jacquelene Brotherton catch up with Rachael's progress at a recent UD launch event.
Philippa Stewart, strategic communications and PR Manager for Volvo Group Australia, left, and Jacquelene Brotherton catch up with Rachael's progress at a recent UD launch event.

To date Linfox and Australia Post have had two courses, with Alex Fraser Hansen and Main Freight having one.

“So far 32 or three girls have gone through,” said Transport Women Australia’s Chair, Jacquelene Brotherton.

“Rachael was in the first course for Linfox so we’ve had a couple of graduation ceremonies. It is a four-week course plus two weeks after. They learn how to drive, how to fill in their run-sheets and log books, safety aspects – everything is covered. It’s a full-on course, not just learning how to steer.”

The women are pre-employed by the companies who have advertised for females to take on the course and have been totally oversubscribed.

The applicants come from a broad range of backgrounds, from make-up artistry to cleaners.

Rachael has been with Linfox for just over a year.

Rachael with Linfox boss Peter Fox. The former make-up artist is relishing the change of direction behind the wheel.
Rachael with Linfox boss Peter Fox. The former make-up artist is relishing the change of direction behind the wheel.

“I did the women’s programme in August, 2018. It was four intense weeks of training then we went for our licence at the Decca facilities in Shepparton.

“It’s been great ever since.”

Currently Rachel is in a UD rigid truck and floats between Target and Myers. She got her semi license a couple of months ago and is working between the two at the moment, but hopefully from January will be permanently in a semi.

She would love to do interstate and we’ve no doubt that she will.

Jacqui Brotherton commented that the programme is out of funding at the moment but is endeavouring to get some more.

“It has been an amazing course. Our project partners have been totally supportive and have been incredible. We even had a pink UD to run around in. There has also been a very good retention rate.”

We sincerely trust the groups can raise the necessary funds to continue the cause. If Rachael’s enthusiasm and drive is anything to go by, the industry at large will benefit enormously.