Sisters Are Driving It For Themselves!
A spin on the Eurythmics anthem ‘Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves’ sung by Annie Lennox perhaps, but statistics show, more women are ‘driving it for themselves’ these days!
When the majority of people think about lorry drivers the obvious stereotype is of a big bearded guy with a Yorkie bar in hand, CB radios and truck-stops with greasy burgers… How times change!
You will always find a greasy spoon out there somewhere, though most cafe’s are changing as people have become more health conscious these days. Trucks however are now very much built for comfort and efficiency, with the latest gadgets and home comforts for drivers spending days out on the road on long-haul journeys. The industry and the roads have changed greatly, and these days anyone can now drive a lorry for a living. It is for that reason we are now seeing the emergence of a new kind of driver behind the wheel!
Bring on the girls!
The number of women getting behind the wheel of a HGV or LGV is growing rapidly because driving a lorry is no longer to do with size and strength. It’s now more brains than brawn because the modern technology in the trucks of today requires very little physical prowess compared to those of years gone by. With automatic gearboxes, power steering, navigation systems and electronic coupling mechanisms -it is now more about the ability to actually drive the vehicle, use the technology and get the job done.
More women than ever are looking at commercial driving as a career. There has been a four-fold increase in women driving HGV’s for a living since 2013, having risen from 0.5% to 2% of the workforce. This has generally been well received in what had been a traditional male dominated haulage industry. Logistics and haulage companies have become increasingly open to recruiting female drivers into their workforce. The industry has in fact implemented policies aimed at welcoming women into the commercial driving.
Women In Transport
Transport For London are also running a scheme called Women In Transport (WIT) to encourage women into the transport industry, as they put it “To diversify and strengthen our workforce, we’re attracting more women and young people to our industry.” Read more here. They have also produced profiles on women working across the industry Women in transport profiles and page a on their website celebrating 100 years of women in transport.
Women Could Solve The Shortage Of HGV Drivers
As it stands there is serious national shortage of HGV drivers, with current estimates reporting the shortage to be approximately 45,000 drivers. To compound matters, the average age of HGV drivers on the roads in the UK is 57. This aging workforce means that around 10% of the HGV drivers will retire in the next 10 years, so the shortage has the potential to increase significantly. Recruiters are also finding it is becoming increasingly difficult to recruit new male drivers into the industry and are increasingly recruiters are now reaching-out to female applicants to fill this gap.
For the haulage industry, the prospect of recruiting female drivers may well solve this shortage. Fundamentally, there is no reason why women should not be employed as HGV drivers, as long as they have a suitable HGV licence, the ability and experience required to do the job.
The Youngest Female HGV Driver
In 2010 Katie Gillard obtained her HGV Category C licence at the age of just 18. She was featured in an article in The Guardian a ‘Meet the women doing ‘men’s work’ and could be considered a role model for those looking to work in a male dominated industry. Like many women venturing into this career, she had to put up with a lot of teasing.
The first time I sat behind the wheel was terrifying, but I picked it up pretty quickly. I work with my father, Andrew, who owns a quarry. I’m used to people doing a double-take when I’m driving. I get it every day, particularly when I’m sitting in traffic. It doesn’t bother me too much. I really enjoy driving.
At RSM we have seen a definite increase in women learning to drive with us – in HGV’s, LGV’s, PCV’s, minibuses and ambulances. So, bring on the girls! Start learning with RSM today!
Training To Drive A HGV
At RSM our HGV driver training is open to anyone who wishes to obtain a licence, regardless of their gender. As a holder of a full UK driving licence who is over the age of 18 you can start training. We have male and female driving instructors available to teach you to drive a HGV, LGV, PCV, bus, coach, minibus or ambulance.
Would you like to learn to drive a HGV? – Contact us today!
If you are interested in starting a career in commercial driving, why not get in touch with our team for some professional advice on how to get started?
Call us on: 01268 695 909
Alternatively, use the Contact Us page to submit your details and obtain a free vocational pack containing the relevant forms and information to apply for your provisional licence and start your commercial driving career. You can also use the Apply Now page to request a booking for your driver training.