The image of a lorry driver is changing. No longer simply the preserve of big, burly blokes, increasing numbers of women are coming through the ranks – and we’re delighted to have one of them on board.
Rachel Woodward, 24, has worked for Mobile Mini for almost a year now, after seeing a job advert on Facebook – and she’s loving every minute.
She says: “I was working as a van driver, delivering workwear, when a friend messaged me about the ad. I wasn’t going to apply but changed my mind as I thought it would be good interview experience – and the rest is history.
“I’d not planned on becoming a driver for a living, but I love the freedom, and getting out and meeting people.
“I knew I could never have a job where I was in an office all day, and I don’t like being tied to one place, so this is the ideal job for me.”
Rachel drives a four-wheel Hiab with attached loader crane, delivering units from our East Midlands branch around the region, from Sheffield to the North to Northampton to the South, and along the East Coast.
And while she’s adept at driving the vehicle and using the crane – “It’s a lot like playing on a games console” – she admits people’s reactions can sometimes be startling.
“People are either incredibly helpful, more so than they would be with a male driver, or they just stand back and watch.
“I’ll often ring customers to let them know I’m on my way and they’ll assume I’m the office staff, asking me to pass a message on the ‘him’.
“It doesn’t bother me, I realise women drivers are still pretty unusual – it’s still seen as a man’s job. The majority of people I deal with are men, and it’s still really rare to see women on a building site.
“In fact, the only challenge I ever find with being a woman is on site – there will be a load of men’s toilets, and only one women’s, which is generally being used for storage.
“Apart from that, everyone has been really good. I’m part of the furniture now and join in with all the banter.”
Having previously only driven a van, Rachel was given all the professional training and attained all the relevant qualifications needed to operate one of Mobile Mini’s lorry mounted loader crane vehicles, before heading out on the road to deliver units to customers.
She says: “Mobile Mini has been really supportive of my career, and I found their training programme really valuable.
“I’ve received training in all sorts of different areas, from manoeuvring the truck to using the crane. I’ve still got lots left to learn though, and I love how my career is being continuously developed.”
As well as providing further to training to qualified drivers, Mobile Mini have their own Driver Development Programme is also helping the industry as a whole, as HR manager Louise Arnold explains.
“My team and I created the Driver Development Programme in direct response to challenges which we and other companies were experiencing in recruiting talented drivers across the UK,” she says.
“Our programme enables us to develop our own talented people and provide them with a great opportunity to grow, receive some fantastic training and to really develop their career, while helping to stem a recruitment crisis within the industry.
“Rachel is a perfect example of how our training benefits both the company and our staff and we’re delighted to see her flourish in her new career.”