Maryanne Cowen - FIFO Bus Driver

About the author : Brand and Communications Team
Published on : 10/25/22
  • “Sodexo is incredibly flexible and rewarding – from my experience if you are placed in a role or a site that is not the best fit for you, they are more than happy to support your transition into another role or site."

    Looking at what she wanted out of her life, Maryanne Cowen decided it was time to follow her gut and do what would make her happy. This decision has seen Maryanne not only shake up her career but pursue every opportunity, including Sodexo’s Transport Pathway Program which she completed in August 2022.

    “I had worked with people with spinal injuries, and while the work was rewarding it wasn’t supporting me in building the lifestyle I wanted. I was not getting any younger sitting there, so I decided to make the jump to FIFO,” Maryanne said.

    Linking up with a girlfriend who was working with Sodexo, Maryanne applied for a service attendant role in late 2021 via an online ad. In just over a week, she was on a plane heading to her first FIFO (Fly-In, Fly-Out) role.

    “I was very lucky it had happened so quickly. I found the team super supportive, and it made my transition easier,” she said.

    Maryanne worked for three months in the kitchen – giving the role a ‘red hot crack’ – but ultimately knew that this service line wasn’t the right fit for her. As far as Maryanne was aware, there were no other open positions for other roles on her site.

    “To be completely honest, I had another role lined up and went to my Village Manager to ask how much notice I had to provide. She was shocked and asked if I had considered changing sites,” Maryanne said.

    “I remember sitting there dumbfounded – it hadn’t even occurred to me!”

    Working with her Village Manager, Maryanne transitioned into an administration position at another site on the same swing. There, she worked for five months and got a handle on the business’s processes and exposure to a variety of roles that were available on-site.

    “I actually became good friends with the Transport Supervisor – so much so that when the Transport Pathway Program became available, she referred me onto it,” she said.

    “Like my approach to FIFO, I thought I would just give it a go.

    At the end of my first swing after becoming a Bus Driver, I actually didn’t want to go home for R&R. I was just having too much fun.

    “I can honestly say that I could not be any happier. This is the happiest I have been doing FIFO.”

    Split into three phases, the two-week Transport Pathway Program guides participants through the process of receiving their Heavy Rigid Licence and Bus Competency, First Aid qualifications, and safety training before undertaking a soft landing on-site.  

    During the training program, the supervisor was incredibly supportive and wanted the best for us. I really just want to thank Sodexo for giving me this career opportunity. I absolutely love driving the buses and doing the utilities work around site,” Maryanne said.

    Maryanne’s average day consists of two bus runs, preparing and cleaning her designated bus for the day, and supporting in tasks around the site. Her day is split in two, with a large fatigue break in the middle to ensure she is rested and ready to drive, shouldering the responsibility of the safety of 50-odd passengers.

    “I would recommend anyone considering doing FIFO bus driving to take the leap and to do what makes you happiest,” Maryanne said.

    “You’ve got to be happy where you are, and I have finally found my happy place.

    Sodexo is incredibly flexible and rewarding – from my experience if you are placed in a role or a site that is not the best fit for you, they are more than happy to support your transition into another role or site."

    With the support of Sodexo and her new role, Maryanne shares that she has achieved another life ambition in purchasing her own land and is currently building her house.

    “I wouldn’t be able to buy a place if it wasn’t for FIFO. Sodexo has given me so much, and I cannot thank them enough,” she said.

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