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Source: Eastern Institute of Technology – Tairāwhiti

15 mins ago

Lynette Tana drives a brand new 18 gear, six wheeler DAF Ranger tipper truck.

Not bad going for a recently EIT qualified commercial road transport graduate who, as a ‘greens’ (rookie truckie), took sole charge of her ‘Dafne’ while she was still in her 90-day trial period.

Lynn, as she prefers to be called, couldn’t be happier. And according to her EIT tutor, Bruce McKnight, she deserves to be.

The mother of three children, aged ten, six and two, juggled part time work, her partner’s work schedule and her family’s needs to complete the 30 week NZ Certificate in Commercial Road Transport (Heavy Vehicle Operator) in October.

She achieved her Class 4 licence as part of the certificate using EIT’s own heavy vehicle that students drive during the programme.

“Lynn was eager to take in all the information that was being taught and then went on to gain work experience at her own cost and time,” says Bruce. “I am so pleased and proud of her.”

It’s a mutually held respect. Lynn acknowledges that with her other commitments there were times when she found the study hard.

“Bruce was so patient. He’d spend time with me during the breaks and give me extra time to complete my assignments. I wasn’t mechanically minded and I found that part extra hard. It was great when it finally clicked.”

It was time well spent. Lynn had the confidence to make contact with Holcim Quarries about work experience as part of her programme.

Getting to Holcim every Friday from 6am to 5pm for work experience was her priority. 

“I didn’t care if I never got to drive a truck. Just to sit in the cab and observe a driver and the trucking industry was enough,” says Lynn. “To be inside a truck was everything. I was an empty book and there to fill in the pages.”

She also got to work in the quarry, holding her own as the only woman there. Bruce says the blisters on her hands and feet from shovelling gravel and rocks were impressive.

While she was still on the course, Holcim boss Hanz Hollis offered Lynn a permanent full-time onsite job but on the proviso she finished the Certificate. She couldn’t believe it at first.

Then within a short time of being full-time, and the only qualified driver among the nine onsite workers, Lynn got the biggest surprise. Her brand new truck.

It’s been quite a journey since Lynn picked up an EIT flyer promoting the Certificate starting in a week’s time. Within the space of days she had handed in her notice from her two part-time jobs, secured the last full week placement at her baby’s daycare, and enrolled.

“It was scary at first. I was like a scared puppy. But it also felt right. Everything fell into place and my heart was telling me this is it.

“It was a whole new scary adventure not just for me but for my family but everything shifted and it worked.

“It was difficult. We all had to get to grips with a new routine. I had to keep my paper run job and it was a struggle. But I was committed and I did what it took to make it happen.

“I feel like I’m just getting started. I’ve powered my engine.”