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Last week the Guardian published a story profiling seven women who work in fields dominated by men. One of those women is 21-year-old Katie Gillard who is now a licensed HGV driver working at a quarry in Wiltshire. Katie first sat for the HGV exam in 2010, after the law was changed to lower the driving age from 21 to 19.

According to the Guardian, the commercial driving industry is clearly one dominated by men. Of the 300,000 licensed drivers in the UK, only 1,600 are women. During her interview with the paper, Katie mentioned being the only female in the class when she first started her HGV driver training. Although that is still the norm today, the number of women entering the field is slowly growing.

Driving large vehicle has typically been the domain of men due to the rugged nature of the work. Loads need to be moved around and secured, vehicles need emergency repairs on the road, and drivers need to be able to stand their ground in disagreements with terminal managers. Yet despite less than ideal conditions, commercial driving is a field that can be mastered by women who are given good training and afforded every opportunity to succeed. There’s no reason why HGV drivers have to be men.

That said, the industry has a long way to go in taking female drivers seriously. Despite completing HGV driver training and earning their licenses, women are often treated as though they don’t know what they’re doing by their male counterparts. For example, Gillard told the Guardian one story in which a male construction site supervisor tried to instruct her in the best way to move her vehicle. Thankfully, she ignored him and stayed true to her training.

An Open Door for Anyone

At the end of the day HGV driver training is an open door anyone can walk through. The requirements for beginning training are simple:

Any driver who meets these three qualifications can apply for a provisional entitlement, which will allow him or her to sit for the HGV theory test. The theory test is a 100 question multiple-choice test that covers highway safety, motor vehicle law, and hazard prevention.

The HGV Training Centre offer classes to prepare drivers for the theory test. Once that test is passed, the driver can begin practical skills training. It doesn’t matter whether an individual is male or female, short or tall, or black, yellow, red, or white. Anyone who can meet the minimum qualifications can go through HGV driver training and earn a license.

It’s good to see women like Katie Gillard pursuing careers as HGV drivers. It is important for women to know that if they have a dream they can succeed, even in career paths normally dominated by men. All it takes is a willingness to learn, a desire to work hard, and an attitude of perseverance.


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