Recently, I wrote a short article on trucking firm Hilton Haulage about what they were doing for their drivers during Truck Driver Appreciation Week, while speaking with them I mentioned that we often do profiles on truckies that deserve recognition for their hard work. They came back to me with the name Connie Askin.
Connie is a young driver hailing from Canterbury, she’s passionate about what she does and loves the industry she works in. So much so that her and her partner decided to start a small trucking business of their own.
Connie was nominated by her manager at Hilton Haulage, who said “Connie is one of our shining youths coming up in the industry, she is an outstanding performer, driving a 58 tonne truck and driven to further herself in the industry”.
Good on you Connie.
Name: Connie Askin
Years in the Industry: Three years with a class five.
Current Employer: Hilton Haulage Ltd.
How did you get into the Industry Connie?
My step-dad is a top-dressing pilot I used to load the planes for him, so I got my class two along with my dangerous goods handling certificates while I was in high-school. After that I travelled overseas nannying for a bit before returning home and going for my class four and class five licences. I wanted a decent job, so I thought I would just go for it.
And what are you doing now?
Currently I work for Hilton Haulage doing the milk for Synlait Milk Ltd. My partner and I also have our own little transport company called Tranzstar Freighting Ltd. He drives full time there, and in my spare time…. especially in the winter…..I do all the paperwork and accounts for that. Its pretty full on, luckily, I have pretty good time management. I also study at the same time.
What do you enjoy about driving?
I’ve always liked my own space. I get to drive around the countryside and the days are really diverse. You meet new people everyday and I work with a really good team. Its something I’ve just fallen into and turned out that I really enjoy it.
Is there anything you dislike?
Well there are downsides to everything I guess. The fact that I work full time, run a business, and study means that things are pretty full on a lot of the time, but I think it will be worth it in the long run. It’s a good industry to be in though and I just focus on the positives.
Did you find that there were any barriers being a woman getting into the industry?
I was really lucky actually. The guy I hired the truck off, the one I learned in, basically just offered me a job as soon as I got my licence. He just said, ‘do you want a job driving a b-train around the South Island’. I think that if I didn’t get that break it could have been a lot more difficult. I know other woman out there who have found it difficult to get someone to give them a chance. I think it is definitely improving though, and businesses are warming up to having woman drivers, at least compared to the way it used to be years ago before I was in the industry.
I’ve heard stories about it, you know often it’s a mix of the person applying and businesses resisting, there are two sides to it but yeah that is what I have heard. I never had an issue though.
What is your favourite ride?
I basically go everywhere, all around Canterbury which is just a really beautiful part of the country. I grew up here and I still don’t get tired of being out amongst it. I don’t really have a favourite, I like all of it. I go to all different farms, so I go way out off road on shingle roads.
What are you currently driving?
A DAF four-axle with a five-axle trailer.
How was it, learning to drive a class five?
It was good, I loved it, I went straight from my class four to a class five basically. I got thrown in the deep end big time. I just got my licence and then was immediately driving around Canterbury with a b-train. Lucky for me, and him, it turned out all right!
All of the jobs I’ve had until now I haven’t had proper training. Hilton Haulage has given me some really good training. They are really good to work for.
Did you participate in the Truck Driver Appreciation Week festivities that Hilton Haulage had put on?
Yeah it was really good! I thought them giving out fruit was especially a good idea and a practice I think they should keep doing outside of the week.
Do you enjoy the challenge of driving?
Yeah, I do. The milk is a pretty cruisy job, and I am a good sleeper, so the shift work doesn’t affect me as much as others. The most stressful thing is not hitting things…which I haven’t done yet so I’m going to keep that up.
I’ve developed my skills heaps since starting, which is one of the good things about the job, its always challenging.
What kind of advice would you give to a young person, or another woman that is looking to get into the industry?
Lots of employers look for people with a positive attitude that is willing to learn and that doesn’t go in with an ‘I know everything’ attitude. Just be positive and willing to learn really.
Any final comments you want to put out there?
Oh yeah, shout out to Hilton Haulage and Gold Team…..Also to my partner and our company Tranzstar Freighting in Dunsandel.
Posted on Thursday 8th November 2018
Truck and Driver Profile: Connie Askin
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