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From hospitality to HGV2 driver – Leanne’s story

Leanne driving HGV

If you are a woman dreaming of a career in what has been traditionally viewed as man’s world, or if you long for a career that you feel is out of reach, you’re not alone. Leanne had dreamed of being a lorry driver since she was a little girl, but found that many people discouraged her, telling her that it was ‘a man’s job’ and that she wouldn’t be capable of it.

Having previously worked in different part-time and short-term hospitality roles to allow her to fit her work around raising her four children as a single parent, Leanne, 40, sought help from her Work Coach at her local Jobcentre Plus. This lead to her starting on Phoenix Training’s HGV driving programme.

Although Leanne was the only woman on the course, it made her more determined to prove that HGV driving is by no means a man’s job. She wanted to show other females that ‘if I can do it, you can do it too!’. She was treated with dignity and respect by the team and, most importantly, as an equal. She felt supported and encouraged throughout her journey.

Now that she’s a qualified HGV2 driver, Leanne loves her job, taking pride in driving to a high standard and enjoying being out on the open road. She also enjoys being able to meet new people on a daily basis and gets great satisfaction from delivering excellent service and putting a smile on her customers’ faces.

Of course, it’s not always plain sailing – as she is petite, Leanne finds that some of the loads she has to deliver can be challenging, but she has worked on a project with a large scale retail innovation team to test a new range of lifting and handling equipment, which they looked to roll out across the delivery crew. This helped drivers to be able to do their jobs more safely and effectively, and also means that there are fewer physical barriers to the job.

Leanne’s advice to anyone thinking of a career in road haulage is “You don’t have to be a burly doorman type to do the job – we definitely need more women in the industry, and if I can do it, so can you! In fact, since I took the plunge and succeeded, two more ladies signed up to the course and are doing well. I can’t wait to work with them!”

The opportunity opened many doors for Leanne’s future, which will help to support her family – after all, her children are what she works for. To anyone dreaming about doing something different, Leanne’s advice is to go for it:

“This time last year, if anyone had told me that I was going to become a fully qualified HGV driver, I would have said ‘in my dreams’ – but now I can proudly say that I’m a lorry driver!”.