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As has been reported many times, the HGV industry is under threat from a driver shortage. A number of current drivers are nearing retirement age, and aren’t being replaced by newer drivers.
And now to solve this problem, M6Toll have declared a new, campaign in an attempt to bring more women into the logistics industry, with the scheme HerGV. This initiative aims to inspire women to think seriously about a career as a HGV drivers, in an effort to help fulfil the ever-growing need for more drivers.
Leonie John a former hairdresser now working for a haulage company says it "is a struggle for women in the industry" because it is so dominated by men. She started her apprenticeship in February 2016, and has since gained the necessary qualifications to drive HGVs.
"I told my dad I wanted to become a lorry driver and he wondered if there was something about the job that meant it wasn't for women, because so few of them did it."
She thinks having better facilities improve general perception. "Some of the facilities at service stations and depots where we deliver to can be awful. There'll be one toilet for all drivers to use, and it won't have been cleaned enough. It's not nice for women to deal with that."
James Hookham, the FTA's deputy chief executive says, “Modern cabs are like spaceships these days, with automatic gears and steering and lots of creature comforts." He thinks there is a wrongful perception that being a truck driver requires extensive physical work.
He also agrees that the industry does, though, need to offer women more flexible hours in order to fit with family life - if possible, and he agrees that poor roadside facilities are a problem.
Another example of a successful female driver named Annette Stagg, 53, of Elton in Cheshire, grew up in the haulage business as her father ran such a company, and then became a driver later in life.
She exclaims women "don't need to be Superman" to deal with the physical aspects of the job: "If you have a puncture you pull over, call the depot and a specialist team come out to change the tyre.”
Female truck drivers are on the rise in the UK and around the world. These women are defying the common stereotype that lorry drivers are mostly older, overweight males. The quality and comfort of the trucks are improving with better beds and home comforts. There are also many less manual HGV roles that don’t need someone of great strength to fulfil the job.
All these aspects of the job and the perceptions of female HGV drivers are changing all the time and here at Returnloads.net we hope that trend continues.
With up to 3,000 new loads per day, saving over 250 million miles per year, the impact for the UK's Carbon footprint alone is huge.