Women behind the wheel


Photography by Nigel Green at www.truckpictures.co.uk
Photography by Nigel Green at www.truckpictures.co.ukWomen behind the wheel

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?

Training

  • 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;

Attractions

  • 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;

Facebook

  • 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;

Looking back

  • 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.