The road transport industry in New Zealand is one that has embraced diversity, welcoming hard working individuals from all different races, countries, and genders. Most importantly this isn’t based on some diversity-quota that is expected to be filled, this is an industry that recognizes individuals based on merit.
Early this month Hino New Zealand held the final of its inaugural Hino Skills Competition at its National Development Centre in Auckland.
The competition saw 28 Truckstops techs from across the country tested on their practical and theoretical knowledge of Hino products, and by August 1st, only two remained.
In the end, Heidi Inkster of Truckstops Wellington took out the top prize. A relative newcomer to the profession Inkster has only two years of experience as a fully qualified technician, having finished her apprenticeship at Truckstops Wellington in 2016.
The final saw Heidi and second-placed Chito Dimaculangan from Truckstops, Mt Wellington branch competing against the clock, taking turns to complete 3 practical exercises each. In between the practical tests there were also theory tests to complete.
“We wanted to test the competitors’ skills and knowledge as well as their ability to work under pressure to a set timeframe much like the challenges our technicians face in our workshops on a daily basis”, says Simon Wilson, technical support manager at Hino New Zealand.
How did such a green technician go from finishing an apprenticeship to being hailed as the top Truckstops serviceperson in the country?
According to Chris Groves, branch manager of Truckstops in Wellington, Inkster has an inherent curiosity to learn, has gone from strength to strength since joining the business in 2013…. “she calls a spade a spade and is a true example of a woman shining in a male dominated industry.”
Inkster’s boss couldn’t hold back his pride for the young employee, saying “we are very proud for Heidi to represent our busy branch…. for her to win the NZ competition is fantastic.”
Simon Wilson says that Heidi sets a fantastic example to other women out there, showing that they can thrive in the industry….“We are thrilled to have such a talented female technician supporting Hino in the Truckstops network. We hope Heidi’s success will encourage other females to consider the heavy transport industry as a viable career option”.Hino holds similar competitions across the world and following her win Heidi will head to Australia on the 21st of August to compete in a trans-Tasman clash against the top Hino Australia technician. She will also head further abroad to Hino’s Japan HQ to observe the global final. In future, Hino NZ is hoping that our local winner will be eligible to compete against the best in the world at this event.