Thursday, June 4, 2015

Transport and Logistics Awards Promote the Roles of Women in Freight and Passenger Sectors

Annual FTA everywoman Ceremony Encourages More Female Participation
Shipping News Feature

UK – The 8th Annual FTA everywoman Awards for Transport and Logistics was its usual well managed self this week, with a list of nominees for the seven standard categories even longer than ever. Once again the everywoman event was sponsored by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the pair managed to put on an extremely memorable affair which highlighted just how much the ‘fairer sex’ has to offer the industry.

After the usual introduction from the MBE holding co-founders of everywoman, Maxine Benson and Karen Gill the business in hand started in real style with MP Andrew Jones, the newly installed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Transport, giving his maiden speech in his new role. May all parliamentarians orations come across so concisely and genuine. Mr Jones emphasised that he understood the vital part logistics plays in our society with the economy depending entirely upon it. He stated that Awards such as this matter and that they were a vital part in raising the profile of women in an industry which needs more support.

Business in the House caused Mr Jones to miss a truly excellent lunch provided at the prestigious London venue, the Hilton on Park Lane, and David Wells, CEO of the Freight Transport Association (FTA), again the lead sponsor of the Awards, spoke out to express concern about the level of recruitment required to keep logistics working efficiently saying:

“The Freight Transport Association is delighted to once again be the Title Partner of the 2015 everywoman in Transport and Logistics Awards. This event showcases how women can make a successful and fulfilling career in transport, and the record number of entries to this year’s categories is indicative of how important these Awards are to our industry.

“A staggering 2.2 million people work in transport and logistics in the UK, but less than a quarter of these employees are female. The current driver shortage crisis illustrates the need for our industry to access a wider talent pool in order to meet its need for good quality staff. Working with everywoman helps FTA highlight the importance of the freight and logistics sector, and encourages others to join what is an essential industry to the UK economy.”

For the main event the introductions were passed into the capable hands of race driver and TV presenter Vicki Butler-Henderson who announced the winners in what were obviously some very fiercely contested categories.

The Woman of the Year Award was presented to Fiona Kerr, aged 37, who is Managing Director of First Glasgow. Fiona was recognised for being the first female Managing Director of any of First Group’s UK local bus businesses, and for championing women in the company, having proactively achieved a 50/50 gender split among her executive director team.

The category winners of the 2015 FTA everywoman in Transport & Logistics are:

Rising Star of the Year Award – sponsored by Wincanton: • Zoë Dobell (27), Project Engineer, London Underground, from London

Driver of the Year Award – sponsored by Motor Transport: • Kerryn Hedley (31), Bus Driver, Reading Buses, from Reading

The Warehousing Award – sponsored by DHL: • Joanne Harrison (38), Days Warehouse Shift Manager, ASDA, from Hartlepool

Innovation & Sustainability Award: - sponsored by Hermes • Zoe Powers (35), Sales and Customer Relations Director, GLH, from London

Team Leader of the Year Award – sponsored by High Speed 1 (HS1): • Lt Cdr Elaine Boyd RN (34), Logistics Officer, Royal Navy, from London

Leader of the Year Award – sponsored by Asda Logistics Services: • Jenny Hooper (45), Managing Director, Independent Freight, from Nuneaton

Industry Champion Award – sponsored by TNT UK: • Nicola Hosty (41), Head of HR Support Services, Northern Rail, from Leeds

In addition, a special recognition award, ‘The Spirit of everywoman’ was presented to Michèle Dix, Managing Director, Crossrail 2 for being a pioneer in the transport and logistics industry. As is customary these days at many freight and logistics related events, a raffle to support transport charity Transaid raised in excess of £2,600.

The FTA everywoman in Transport and Logistics Awards were launched eight years ago with the primary aim of raising the profile of women excelling in the industry in order to make it known that transport and logistics is an industry that is inclusive and open to all. This year’s winners came from well-known organisations as diverse as the Royal Navy, London Underground and DHL, as well as start-up enterprises, reflecting the varying options for those contemplating a career in logistics or transport. Maxine Benson MBE, co-founder of everywoman, commented:

“The transport and logistics industry offers myriad opportunities for people from all backgrounds and skillsets, with the passion and determination to succeed. The women celebrated today show what makes the industry so great, they are breaking barriers, changing perceptions, and are role models for others, both those already forging a career in the industry and those who have never even considered it. As industry ambassadors, our winners have the ability to attract new talent to the sector.”

Photo: All the 2015 winners gather on stage with Maxine Benson MBE (L), David Wells of the FTA (middle) and Karen Gill MBE (R)