An industry-leading hirer of portable site accommodation and secure storage containers is challenging stereotypes with the appointment of a female HGV driver.
Mobile Mini, which has 15 branches across the UK including Wearside and the Tees Valley, and its headquarters in Stockton, has taken on a female driver to deliver its units – one of only 3,000 in the UK.
Following her appointment by Mobile Mini, Rachel Woodward, 24, was able to develop her driver skills further, receiving professional training centred around carrying out the lifting operations required when delivering units from a lorry mounted loader crane vehicle.
She says: “I’d not planned on becoming a driver for a living, but I love the freedom of 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 delivers storage container and site accommodation units from Mobile Mini’s East Midlands branch around the region – and often finds she is not what customers expect.
She said: “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 for ‘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 rare to see women on a building site.”
As well as providing lifting operations training to qualified HGV drivers, Mobile Mini also has its own Driver Development Programme, a bespoke training scheme offered to any employee working for the company, created to help deal with an increasing shortage of HGV drivers.
The company’s HR Director Louise Arnold said: “We created the Driver Development Programme in direct response to challenges which we and other companies were experiencing in recruiting talented drivers across the UK.
“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 driving training benefits both the company and our employees and we’re delighted to see her flourish in her new career.”
For more information about Mobile Mini and its Driver Development Programme, please visit www.mobilemini.co.uk