More female drivers needed to combat transport industry’s driver shortage
‘So how many female drivers do you employ?’ We hear you say. Well, at Hopkins Concrete we currently only employ one female driver, but we are advertising for new drivers and hope to add to this number in the near future. So why, in the 21st Century, when the barriers to careers previously considered as ‘man’s work’ have been broken down, such as plumbing and the construction industry, is truck driving still so male-dominated?
Sarah Blake, one of our concrete mixer truck drivers, says driving is a great job for her and would urge more women to look into training as a driver. She says: “I have never really considered any other job. My Dad was a truck driver and I used to love it when he drove me around in his cab. It seemed a natural thing when I left school to get into driving. My first job was driving refuse trucks. This was good as a starting point, but I much prefer working for Hopkins.”
As a firm, we have invested heavily in improving working conditions for drivers across the board, with particular focus on purchasing new Mercedes trucks for our fleet with improved vehicle specifications, including softer cab suspension, softer and better supported driver seats, increased space in the cab, and different spec tyres. We are glad that this investment seems to be paying off and making the job of driving our trucks more comfortable for all our drivers. At Hopkins we are also committed to supporting our drivers’ ongoing training, and with the news CPC training requirements, we feel this is another area worth investing in to ensure drivers are not driven out of the industry.
Sarah continues: “I love working for Hopkins as everyone is so friendly, from the other drivers to the office staff. I guess that’s what comes of it being a family run firm, but there is a very supportive ethos. Another attraction is that Hopkins offers excellent job training opportunities, and that is very helpful with the ongoing CPC training drivers now have to do under new regulations.”
Some female drivers have sited the rude attitude of some members of the public as well as their male peers as a challenge, and although this does need to be addressed, Sarah says: “I have actually never experienced chauvinism in my role. I am lucky, as all the drivers at Hopkins have accepted me without a second thought.”
We look forward to more female drivers applying for a job with Hopkins Concrete, but it really needs a UK-wide push from schools, colleges and the UK Government, as well as the wider public, to promote truck driving as a suitable trade for female and male school leavers. Only this way will we be able to make inroads into the issue of driver shortages being felt across the industry.
We await the FTA Skills Summit to see what initiatives they can suggest to help the general driver shortage thwarting the industry today.