Truckie Profiles

Sky’s the limit for young outback truckie

At just 22 years of age, this go-getting young driver is already hauling 60 metre super quads to mine sites across WA.  

While working as a FIFO cleaner at the mines, Shelby Dolmans decided to go for her HR licence – and then, as they say, the rest is history.

While she had no immediate plans to get into bigger trucks, seeing an ad posted by QUBE about a 10-week HR to MC traineeship changed everything.

Dolmans had only held her HR licence for three months and was yet to find work as a driver.

“When I passed my HR, I knew I’d have to wait a year before I could move into something bigger, but then I saw that this could be fast-tracked through QUBE’s training program,” explained Dolmans.

“There was a stage where it looked like I wouldn’t be able to get into the program because of my age, but I had a meeting with the Department of Transport and they approved me the next day, so I could carry on with the training program.”

Dolmans was part of QUBE’s initial intake into the program, which began in April 2021, with each of the eight women who took part all walking away with an MC licence and employment.

“I passed my MC just before I turned 21 and it was a huge day in my life,” she said.

Dolmans says she enjoys the side tipper work the most.

“Through QUBE’s training program, we learnt a lot more than just driving. They taught reversing, unhooking, dropping trailers, changing tyres and a bit of workshop maintenance too. It was a lot to take in, but I thought it was a really great program.”

The trainees began the program in Perth, where they also sat for their Dangerous Goods licence, before continuing their training in Geraldton and Bunbury.

Based in Perth, Dolmans does FIFO (fly in, fly-out) work, driving quads out of Leinster, a small town in the Goldfields area of WA, about 1000km north-east of Perth.

Shifts can range anywhere from 12 to 15 hours and it’s one week on, one week off, which Dolmans says works really well for her. “The long days are tiring but you get used to it.”

On her week on, she says, “I live in the FIFO camp in Leinster. It’s a great little community and has a nice pub, an IGA and a coffee hutch. I absolutely love the one week on and one week off at home lifestyle,” she said.

Though Dolmans didn’t foresee her future career, she’s actually been around trucks her whole life, as her cousins and uncles are truck drivers. “Trucking runs in my family, so I guess it’s in the blood,” she said.

Dolmans’ career with QUBE started at Mount Keith/Yakabindi, where for six months she steered 300 tonne triples on haul roads, doing a one and a half hour round trip.

She was then transferred to Leinster in February 2021, where she got her first go at steering a super quad – and she’s been there ever since.

Though it’s almost always pulling super quads, the work is still quite varied. “Because I’m trained up on all the runs, I do all of them. Kalgoorlie would be the furthest I go, which is about five hours, then there’s Leonora which is about two hours or Mount Keith which is one hour,” said Dolmans.

When pulling tippers, there’s anywhere up to 130 tonne of iron ore on the back, about 120 tonne for iso container work and 108 tonne for wet con work.

“I’m loving Leinster because it’s more variety. I love driving the side tippers, that’s my favourite and being able to self-load with the loader. I really enjoy the trip to Kalgoorlie too, I love the longer runs,” said Dolmans.

“QUBE is a great company and I’m forever grateful at being able to do the training program and get into the position I’m in now. It was very important to learn more than just the driving – and I feel like I’m a better driver because of it.”

Steering such an enormous combination, Dolmans says people are often quite surprised to learn of her age. “It’s always great to see that reaction. My family are really proud and happy for me.”

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