Laurie Bartram loves her dream job in logistics
More and more driving jobs appear to be up for grabs in the transport industry after years of hard times.
And unless more people start training as drivers there will be a shortage, industry experts say.
As well as the 54,721 driving vacancies we have found at www.direct.gov.uk/employment, another 48,000 jobs will open up in the next five years as 16% of drivers above the age of 60 retire. Only 1% are under 25.
“The driver shortage is not new but its effects were mitigated by the economic downturn,” says Dr Ross Moloney, at Skills for Logistics. “As the UK economy recovers, resolving this issue will be critical to avoid holding up growth.
“This is because more than 60% of goods in Britain are moved on roads.”
One person who has capitalised on the opportunities is Laurie Bartram, one of the UK’s youngest women to get her Class 1 HGV licence.
She travels the country in a 44-tonne lorry picking up and delivering refrigerated goods.
“I love that it’s something completely different,” says Laurie, 22. “People are surprised I’m not hairdressing or working as a beautician. They then assume I work in an office but I couldn’t imagine anything more boring.”
She did a stint in an office as a teenager when she started work as an administrator at Bartram Express, her parent’s haulage business in Cambridgeshire.
“I realised very quickly that all I really wanted to do was drive,” she says.
Four years later, at the age of 21, Laurie passed her Class 1 (C+E), completed all the modules to become a professional driver and became one of the youngest women in the country to get a full Driver’s Certificate of Professional Competence and Drivers Qualifications Card.
Not one to rest on her laurels or remain within the comfort of a family-run business, Laurie decided to branch out and develop her skills further – and now works as an HGV driver for an agency.
“I decided it was really important to gain experience in other haulage firms and be independent,” she says.
Laurie admits the work can be physically demanding.
“Yes, it is physical work with a lot heaving and ho-ing but I’ve been called Muscles most of my life. I’m 5ft 8in with big shoulders. I can handle it,” she says. “If you are carrying a lot of heavier pallets then you just use the right equipment to load and unload. It is simple.”
Laurie’s working day starts with a 20-minute drive from her home near Ely in Cambridgeshire to the depot and then she is off taking her refrigerated produce, such as fruit and vegetables, around the country – particularly to the ports, including Felixstowe, Suffolk, and Harwich docks in Essex.
“Most of the jobs I do don’t involve overnights so I’m home every evening,” Laurie says. “In truth I like being away. It saves time and the fuel costs of getting to and from work.”
Driving days range from nine hours a day to 10 depending on the hours she has clocked up in a week.
Being a woman is neither here nor there, she says.
“I make sure it isn’t an issue,” says Laurie. “You get people saying I probably have it easy but when I ask my bosses if they give me different jobs they always insist that isn’t the case.”
This “can do” attitude was what judges were looking for when she won this year’s MAN everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards, which celebrates the success of women in transport and logistics.
“The aim of the award is to encourage more women and girls to consider driving as a career,” says Laurie. “There’s a lot of work out there if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort.”
She accepts that the job is not made for everyone but insists that whether you are a man or woman is immaterial and having the right personality is far more important.
“You need to be happy to be on your own for long periods of time and also take the responsibility,” she says. “You need to be able to focus and have physical stamina. I love all of that. I just get on with driving and listening to my music. It’s my dream job.”
Salaries and training
Experienced Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) drivers can earn £15,000 to £30,000 a year. Drivers of fuel and chemical tankers need special training and can earn up to £35,000 a year. Forklift truck drivers must complete a forklift training course and salaries start between £12,000 and £13,500 a year, rising to £14,000 to £21,000 a year.
Since the introduction of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC) legislation in September 2009, which was brought in because of a driver shortage, it is possible for anyone over the age of 18 to get an HGV licence (Category C and C+E). You must pass your HGV test and have the Driver CPC qualification, or be in the process of taking it.
Great news for jobseekers as we find a bumper load of 75,264 vacancies up for grabs right now.
As part of our Get Britain Working campaign we scour the UK to find out who is recruiting, and where, to help you know where to head for work.
We’ve teamed up with top recruitment site Fish4jobs to create a one-stop jobs shop on our website.
Visit Fish4jobs for more opportunities.