Though she didn’t always envisage herself in the trucking industry, now Meredith Young, 32, couldn’t see herself working anywhere else.
Joining PACCAR Australia in 2012 through its graduate program has delivered a wealth of opportunity. This has seen her transition from human resources roles, through to working with the manufacturing team – including helping to bring DAF truck production into Australia – and more recently being appointed as the workplace health and safety manager, a role she has now held for the past 12 months.
While some are lured to the industry by their love of trucks and engines, for Young this wasn’t the case. “I wasn’t driven by trucks when I first started. Yes, I thought it was an interesting industry, but it wasn’t something that I pursued necessarily. What I learnt once I joined PACCAR Australia is that this is a company that really invests in the development of its people and offers so many training and progression opportunities,” said Young.
After completing her Bachelor of Business Management, majoring in Human Resources, Young applied for PACCAR’s graduate program. What’s unique about the four-year program is that it enables participants to transition into different roles within the business every 12 months. You don’t just sample working in a team – you become a critical member of it.
For Young, this meant starting out as a learning and development coordinator, then HR coordinator, moving into payroll, followed by being a human resources advisor, and finally moving into manufacturing, before eventually taking on her current role.
“Graduates coming into PACCAR get a broad range of experience across the business in roles that may cover materials, purchasing, engineering, quality assurance, accounting, and so many more. They are also paired with a mentor from the executive group to assist them along the way,” explained Young.
“For me, in the beginning, the location of the Bayswater manufacturing plant was a big driver for me wanting to work at PACCAR. I’m from Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, so to have a large employer in that area was very attractive to me. Since joining the business, the amount of opportunity I’ve had has been really great for me and my career. At PACCAR, they really put their trust in your skills and help you to succeed.”
For Young, this is exemplified through her diversity of roles. “Once I finished my human resources rotations, I was at a point where I wanted to better understand the operational side of the business and develop my leadership skills,” she said.
“I feel really lucky that I work for an organisation that allows you to challenge yourself and expand your skills while supporting you every step of the way. I’ve had brilliant leaders who really supported my development. They always ran through things with me, answered my questions and provided me with all the training I needed. They set me up with the skills I needed to perform my job. When I moved across to manufacturing, I didn’t have any experience in working with the production systems as I’d never used them before, so that was another area I had to learn.”
Her first foray into vehicle production came when she was appointed production supervisor, which focused on cab builds. Within just three months, she moved over to frame assembly, where the number of people under her supervision was three-fold.
“Kenworth trucks have been built in Australia for 50 years, but I was lucky enough to also be a part of the team that brought DAF truck assembly into Australia in 2018. On two occasions I got to take around 10 production staff and engineers to Eindhoven in the Netherlands to learn about the DAF build, and then to Leyland in the UK to learn about the second model that’s now built here. That was such an exciting project to be a part of,” Young added.
In addition to the in-house training and development offered by PACCAR Australia, the company runs a wide variety of other initiatives too.
Like numerous other employees, Young commenced her Graduate Certificate of Management through PACCAR, which was run onsite and funded by the company.
Those wishing to further their formal qualifications in other areas also have opportunities to do so. PACCAR sets you up to be successful later in your career, by exposing you to so many different departments and teams,” said Young.
“I knew quite early on that this was the company I wanted to work for and that this is the industry for me. I’ve loved the teams I’ve worked with, and all of the factory staff are just so proud of the product they produce. It’s so rewarding to be a part of that.”