But it looks like the industry is changing supported by improvements in driver facilities, modern technology that enables better route planning, more predictable work shifts, on road support and many more.
Sam and Sally, working for Amazon Freight Partners in the UK, are breaking the bias, as they both had the courage to become heavy-duty drivers. The Amazon Freight Partner program is made up of small business trucking companies who provide Amazon with dedicated haulage capacity, while also providing them with tools – like technology that helps to lower operating costs, the option to use brand new tractors, fuel and parking benefits and consistent work.
“Before I became an HGV driver back in 2016 I had a domiciliary career and provided care for people of all ages in the comfort of their own homes. To become an HGV driver, I applied for an apprenticeship and became one of the twelve apprentices that were selected out of 3000 applicants”, tells Sam. After completing her apprenticeship Sam worked for two big haulage providers in the UK, for over a year now she has been working for R2H Haulage in Willenhall, West Midlands.
Sally did her driver training as an Army Reservist and because she enjoyed this experience she decided to become a full time HGV driver. She has worked in haulage industry for almost seven years now, last eight months for Amazon AFP Celtic International Ltd based in Swansea, South Wales.
“A typical working day would be checking my vehicle for any defects and filling in a report before arriving at Amazon’s fulfillment center in Swansea to begin the pre-planned trip. Once all collections and deliveries are received, I return to the fulfillment center to complete the trip, refuel and clean the truck ready for the next day. Generally, within an 8-10-hour shift”, says Sally about her normal working day. Sally is generally able to plan her working and rest hours more than a week an advance and as she is a triathlete it helps her to plan her training.
Sam chose to work at night so that her wife, Alex, can work during the daytime. “At the moment my work-life balance isn’t the greatest situation but that’s no fault to anybody. It’s just the only way myself and my wife can provide childcare for our son Malachi. My wife works during the day and I work through the night so it can be quite tough”, explains Sam. Sam is grateful to her wife for her daily support.
Both Sam and Sally love their jobs and cannot imagine themselves doing anything else.
Sam says: “I would say to any woman that was thinking about a role as an HGV driver to just go for it. It’s the best career move that I could have done. Every day is different. I think that a lot of women are put off by thinking it’s a male-dominated industry, which it is, but that’s why us women have to show that we can do it just as well, if not better, and start making it a more of an even-mixed industry of both men and women”.
Sally loves being out on the road traveling to different places and meeting new people. She believes her job is not physically difficult and she is not treated differently as a female driver, she does find the traffic that you encounter on the road challenging and requiring patience and awareness.
“I love every part of my job, I would never want to do anything other than this now. I like the fact that there’s a sense of freedom whilst I am out on the road, I can put my music on sing along and there is just minimal stress.”
“I would recommend that a new driver join a small local reputable company where you will receive great training and support. I also started as a night shift driver where the pace of life is slower and easier going. We’d love to see more female drivers on the road”, concludes Sally.
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