Within the road, freight and logistics industry it is a largely acknowledged fact that this is an industry that is dominated by men. With just 2% of all professional drivers being female, it can be understandable why many fail to see women within this role. However, a brand new documentary-reality programme courtesy of Channel 4, starring a graduate of The RTITB Academy, has recently been launched onto our television screens.
First aired on 9th February, MotherTruckers follows the professional and personal lives of several professional female drivers, including Jill Noble, who obtained her LGV Assessor training at The RTITB Academy in Telford, Shropshire. The average age for professional male drivers is thought to be around 51, but with many professionals now reaching the age of retirement, it is believed that the industry will soon experience a shortage of experienced drivers.
Realising this opportunity to break into the market, more women than ever are taking their first step into professional driving, a movement which has been acknowledged on MotherTruckers. Regarding her entry into the industry, Jill, who has two children, recalled: "It just sort of happened – I had originally trained as a dental nurse but after I had been made redundant, I noticed that all the available jobs in my area were for professional drivers. I started driving around with my Dad in his business van and kept getting told I should get my professional licence so I just went for it!"
The documentary is a strong reminder that although predominately dominated by male workers, women can be accepted and can prove to be just as competent and skilled. On the programme Jill commented: "I think the programme will definitely stop the misconception about female drivers. I think it shows that you don’t need to be a heavy, mucky trucker to be a lorry driver- you can be feminine and you can definitely have both a family and a career as a professional driver."
This is a motion that is strongly backed by Howard Moore, Instructor at The RTITB Academy. Commenting on Jill’s time at The Academy Howard said: "Jill was one of those people who you will always remember. She thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the course and was more than keen to learn. She clearly loves her job and took a number of new ideas away with her from the course."
Jill, who has previously owned her own driving school and currently works for Apex Training Services in Peterborough, said of her training: "I thoroughly enjoyed my training, I thought Howard was absolutely brilliant and a great instructor. He opened up my eyes to the finer points of driving – I was very impressed and would strongly recommend the RTITB training courses to any driver." Along with her RTITB LGV Driver Assessors qualification, Jill has also recently obtained her RTITB Forklift Instructors qualification.
Although only the pilot episode has been aired thus far, the programme has done wonders already for the women involved, says Jill: "Since the first episode aired, we’ve had lots of women contacting us about getting their professional licences; Wendy (who also appeared on the programme) has been inundated with calls. It’s definitely had a massive impact already."
To catch up with MotherTruckers, visit www.channel4.co.uk/4od. For more information on professional driver training from The RTITB Academy, visit www.rtitb.co.uk/academy.