Women behind the wheel
There might yet be a very significant contribution helping to solve the current dearth of qualified professional HGV drivers – putting women behind the wheel.
Women might make up half of the population but – according to UK Haulier in a story dated the 1st of October 2014 – only 1% of all HGV drivers are female.
What positive signs are on the horizon, therefore, to suggest that more women might be looking to entering the profession?
- the article in the UK Haulier made reference to a new HGV training school – called Horsepower – that has been opened by two female HGV drivers, with the specific intention of recruiting more women into the profession;
- according to the trainers’ website, the modern HGV is in fact easier to drive than a small hatchback – not to mention being more fun;
- the school offers a so-called “taster day”, offering a practical insight into the profession but requiring anyone attending to hold only a car driver’s licence and not necessarily an HGV provisional licence;
- the attractions in becoming a professional driver are likely to be the same for both sexes but are likely to include some that might be especially appealing for women;
- flexible hours, for example, allow you to fit your time at work around the demands of children and family, allowing full or part-time working;
- women might want to start their driving hours, for example, after their partner has returned home from work and can take over looking after the children;
- you might choose to work days only, late shifts or night time driving, as many days of the week as you choose, and even over the weekends or public holidays;
- adapting your hours to suit your availability also gives you considerable flexibility in the amount of money you choose to earn;
- from the employer’s point of view, it remains to be seen, of course whether female drivers will be able to enjoy any discounts on lorry or haulage insurance cover;
- it might have been set up by American female drivers, but the Facebook page Women & Trucks, with its timeline, message board and photos offers a universally accessible meeting place for women behind the wheel pursuing a carefree profession as a driver;
- it might be ringing the changes to introduce a new generation of women to heavy goods driving, but the profession is not entirely new to some ladies;
- the Shepton Mallet Journal (February 2015) for example looked back to the year 1980 when a local girl took and passed the HGV licence examination to become one of the “Queens of the Road”;
- the new female driver in fact decided to join the ranks of professional drivers in order to be able to share driving responsibilities with her owner-operator husband and so help meet the driver’s hours regulations.
It seems clear that there is a role for women behind the wheel and one that has become more critical than ever given the overall shortage in this country of suitably qualified professional drivers.