North Melbourne is pleased to announce its first official Victorian Public Transport Partner, Keolis Downer, the proud operator of Yarra Trams.

The partnership will see Keolis Downer support the club’s AFLW team as well as the ground-breaking Freestyle – Women in Trades program.

Launched in late 2022, the Freestyle – Women in Trades program aims to attract, retain, support, and empower young women and trans and gender-diverse people to work in trades.

Keolis Downer will be integrated into Freestyle events, workshops, and the Kicking Goals in Trades school-based program to encourage more women and trans and gender-diverse people to pursue roles in traditionally male-dominated industries.

Keolis Downer representatives will be involved in hands-on activities, interactive sessions and share real-world insights to spark curiosity and passion for trades among the younger generation of Year 7 to 10 students.

As operator of Yarra Trams, Keolis Downer has nearly tripled the number of women tram drivers in recent years and is committed to continuing to increase the representation of women and trans and gender-diverse people across all areas of the business. 

The partnership aligns with Keolis Downer’s commitment to gender equality and will help connect young women and trans and gender-diverse people to a leading employer of hundreds of tradespeople across its large rolling stock and infrastructure teams, plus Keolis Downer’s other recruitment opportunities in tram driving and customer service.

“We are delighted to welcome Keolis Downer on board as a partner of our AFLW team and Freestyle – Women in Trades program,” North Melbourne CEO Jennifer Watt said.

“Keolis Downer, as the operator of Yarra Trams, not only plays an important role in helping our fans get to and from our Melbourne-based games, but also shares our commitment to inclusivity and our communities.

“We look forward to working together and helping more women and trans and gender-diverse people start rewarding careers in traditionally male-dominated industries and occupations.”

Melbourne hosts the world’s largest tram network, with Keolis Downer responsible for the operation of more than 250 kilometres of double track and a fleet of nearly 500 trams running approximately 33,000 services a week across the city.

Yarra Trams CEO Carla Purcell said she hopes that through this support of North Melbourne’s pioneering Freestyle – Women in Trades program, more people with diverse backgrounds will consider pursuing a fulfilling role on the tram network.

“Beyond operating Melbourne’s iconic tram network and delivering a great tram service, we are committed to investing in our community and offering more people pathways to work with us and ensure our workforce is as diverse as the community we serve.”


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