Women come to the rescue to help with the shortage of drivers
Thursday October 2016
The haulage industry has a shortage of drivers, so the government is urging companies to encourage more women to get behind the wheel.
“I’ve never been out on a job by myself before,” says Leonie John, as she smoothly pulls her 44-tonne truck out of a tight junction.
The 22-year-old former hairdresser now works for C M Downton, a haulage company with its headquarters in Gloucester and depots around Britain.
She started her apprenticeship in February, has gained the necessary qualifications and soon she’ll be driving HGVs on her own all the time.
Leonie always wanted to be a lorry driver – she says she hates being “stuck in one place” – but she thinks at least one aspect of her former life has helped with her new one.
“When I was a hairdresser I had to keep to appointment times and not keep people waiting. Now I’m a lorry driver, I have to keep to a delivery schedule and not be late. So it was useful practice.”
Haulage associations estimate there’s a current shortfall of 45,000-60,000 drivers, with another 40,000 due to leave the industry by 2017.
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