A Burnley driving school director is putting the 'bus' back in 'businesswoman' and encouraging more women to take their bus and LGV tests to help combat driver shortages
The Director of the LGV driving school Ben Shaw Training, Andrea Haworth (36) has all seven categories on her licence, allowing her to drive anything from a regular car to an arctic lorry, and after recently passing her PCV (passenger carrying vehicle) category D test decided to take the driving tests to inspire other women and help her understand exam pressure.
“More and more women are coming to us to learn and I wanted to be able to empathise and understand how they were feeling on test day," said Andrea, who has licences to drive busses, coaches, and large goods vehicles. “I began working at Ben Shaw four years ago and started taking the tests not long after. I wanted to prove to them they had nothing to fear and passing was achievable.
“There is a belief that the LGV industry is solely for men, but there are an increasing number of women becoming bus and truck drivers," she added. “In fact, women have a much better pass rate than men! Women have a role to play in the industry and can make a good career out of it.”
Women are hugely under-represented in the industry, with the latest figures stating that just eight per cent of all 400,000 professional drivers are female, but with Andrea also a qualified CPC (certificate of professional competence) and PCV examiner enabling candidates to sit tests at the firm’s offices on Blacker Street, she is keen to alleviate any unnecessary pressure.
“It can be nerve-racking going to the test centre, so we have tried to alleviate that pressure," she explained. “I understand how people are feeling because I’ve been in their position and can relate to that; taking your LGV or bus exams can be very daunting, especially in a male-dominated industry."
Ben Shaw Training Ltd, based at the former McBride’s factory, are specialists in LGV, coach, and car-and-trailer training, with the company having grown year-on-year since its launch in 2005 to the point where it now has 10 staff members and a fleet of eight vehicles.
The haulage industry is also a hiring one, with the Road Haulage Association saying that companies need to train 45,000 new truckers just to fill existing vacancies.