Currently working as a driver trainer for H.W. Richardson Group, MITO learner Jodi McNamara has spent the last eight years dedicated to growing her skills and knowledge in the commercial road transport industry.

“I realised my passion for driving when I got a seasonal job delivering 90kg gas bottles,” Jodi explains. “I really enjoyed being out and about and doing something physical, so I decided to pursue a career in the industry.” After beginning a full-time job with H.W. Richardson Group’s Southern Transport Limited, Jodi was exposed to transporting a variety of different goods - from fertiliser to aggregate to concrete panels. “It gave me the opportunity to drive all sorts of different loads and types of trucks – so I gained a heap of experience.”

In 2020, Jodi was the first person in the country to complete MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in Commercial Road Transport (Heavy Vehicle Operator) (Level 3) programme, giving her formal recognition of the skills that she had gained on-the-job. “I found the eLearning part of the programme especially awesome, because you can do it whenever it suits you,” Jodi says. “If you were in a classroom you would have to go along with the pace of the class, but when you’re working on it by yourself you can just rocket through it.”

H.W. Richardson Group Driver Trainer Grant Arlidge has nothing but good things to say about Jodi. “Jodi gives 110% every day, you would not be able to fault her in a 50-tonne unit on the road,” he says. Grant explains Jodi’s eagerness to learn, paired with her impressive work ethic, really stands out. “Seeing her achieve is one of my highlights after 40 years in the industry.”

“Grant has been helping me through mentoring, and I’m really lucky that I met him,” says Jodi. “When I first met him, he said to me, ‘these are the kind of places you could be going, and if you want to get to these places, these are the qualifications you’ll need.’” These words inspired Jodi to continue to further herself in the industry – “I want my workplace to know that I’m interested in moving forward.”

It was Rachael Poole, H.W. Richardson Group Driver Trainer Administrator in Invercargill, and Grant that encouraged Jodi to apply for the 2020 MITO/Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport in New Zealand Incorporated (CILT) scholarship. The MITO and CILT scholarship is awarded to an emerging industry leader, to assist them with their further professional development. As the recipient of the scholarship, Jodi was presented with $1,000 towards further study and professional development, which she chose to put towards MITO’s New Zealand Certificate in First Line Management (Business Skills) (Level 4).

“When I found out Jodi had won the CILT scholarship I was amazed, but I wasn’t surprised,” says Grant. “This was a first for H.W. Richardson Group and I just knew if anyone was going to do it, it would be Jodi. She’s a very special person, and the sky is the limit for her.”

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