Dayna Callender might be diminutive, young and a female but don’t underestimate her – she can handle a truck-and-trailer unit like a boss.
At just 19 years old, Dayna became the first student to complete the Bay of Plenty Transport Industry cadetship at Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology. She will graduate later this year but she is already working for Priority Logistics driving Class 5 trucks.
Before enrolling with Toi Ohomai, Dayna was a student at Mount Maunganui College and says she was unsure about what she wanted to do when she finished school.
She says she decided to sign up for the student-for-a-day initiative after Toi Ohomai staff visited her school.
“I’ve always loved trucks and after I did the student-for-a-day where I went to the course and joined in with the class. I realised I loved it so I just carried on from there.”
Dayna gained her class 2 licence, enabling her drive trucks that weigh up to 12,000kg. Gaining her Class 4 licence, Dayna then had to wait six months until she could start working towards her class 5, to be able to drive a truck and trailer unit with a combined weight of up to 25,000kg. However as a member of the cadetship programme, Dayna had been connected with her employer and was able to spend the time working and gaining experience.
Once she completed the mandatory stand-down period, Dayna was back in the classroom ready to learn all of the skills she would need to eventually gain her class 5 licence and be able to drive the big trucks.
Earlier this year, Dayna passed her class 5 licence and says she is looking forward to progressing in her career with a one of her big dreams to work in the USA.
“None of my family drive but I’ve always loved trucks and looked at them and wanted to drive them. The size, the looks, the different styles and what they can carry – it all appeals.
“Plus, I like being in control of the vehicle and also new places and new people.”
Dayna says while the trucking industry is male dominated, she has felt supported by her colleagues and others.
“There has been a big shift in the industry and they’re embracing young workers, and female workers.”
Toi Ohomai Group Manager Automotive, Transport and Logistics Dan Taylor says Dayna deserves all the praise that comes her way.
“She is a great example having seized an opportunity and deciding to run with it. We, here at the Toi Ohomai Road Transport and Logistics group, are super proud of her achievements and it is fitting that she is the first graduate of our cadetship programme.
“The cadetship programme is a result of Toi Ohomai working with the Freight and Logistics Action Group and our valued industry partners. Now we can offer full and part time options for transport students.”