A Day in the Life of Class 2 HGV Driver Jamie Walls09 Mar 2021
Take a drive into the day to day life of Sunbelt Rentals first female Class 2 HGV Driver Jamie Walls.
Jamie Walls, 34, is a Class 2 HGV Driver who forms part of our North West Transport team. Based from our Chadderton location in Oldham, Jamie has worked for Sunbelt Rentals for almost seven years.
She drives a 32 tonne 8-wheeler truck transporting large plant equipment such as diggers, dumpers, powered access equipment, tower lights and bowsers to customer sites. On a typical day, Jamie can make anywhere from 4-10 deliveries or collections and her routes vary from day to day. One day Jamie can be based locally in the North West, and other days she goes further afield depending upon customer requirements.
Prior to joining Sunbelt Rentals, Jamie was a Refuse Collector for Manchester City Council for 10 years, but she was always keen to drive a loader or truck. When she saw a job advert for an Apprentice HGV Driver at Sunbelt Rentals, she jumped at the opportunity to apply and was successful.
I was 28 when I joined the apprenticeship scheme and I thought I might be too old, but I’ve never looked back since. I wasn’t put off applying for a driving position because I’m a woman and from day one all my male colleagues have supported and helped me in any way they can. I work with the most amazing bunch of guys and we all help each other out. I’ve got great people around me and we’ve become friends rather than colleagues.Jamie Walls, Class 2 HGV Driver at Sunbelt Rentals.
Jamie continued “Whenever I go to a site to drop equipment off, I normally get the response ‘Hiya mate’ and then when I put the window down, they always apologise and say ‘Sorry love’ when they realise I’m a woman. Some people are surprised when they see a female HGV Driver but it’s definitely becoming more and more accepted. Out on the road I’ve noticed a lot more female HGV Drivers, but perhaps not in the plant hire sector as much yet.
If comments have ever been made that a delivery has been made by a female HGV Driver, my colleagues have always backed me up and said something along the lines of ‘She’s one of the best Drivers in our yard.’ And the women I come across in the job always comment that it’s good to see a female HGV Driver.
"I’ve never been an office girl and I love the freedom that the job gives me. Before I became a HGV Driver, I didn’t even enjoy driving! But I absolutely love being on the open road now and having the chance to go to some beautiful places.
I’ve always loved getting my hands dirty and it’s the perfect job for me. In fact, it doesn’t even feel like a job!”
Jamie has two boys aged 1 and 3 and she tells us they take after their Mum in that they’re mad about trucks and diggers. When she gets into work in the morning, she checks her paperwork, goes to the wagon, checks her tachograph and performs her daily vehicle checks before heading out on the road. Depending on whether equipment is ready, loads may be prepared the evening before or in the morning.
Jamie is meticulous about driver safety and tells us that in her job it’s important to be patient, to always keep a level head and to never get stressed.
She adds: “This job has really taken my career to a whole new level. It’s exciting every day, it takes you to places that you wouldn’t otherwise go to and I absolutely love it. I really would recommend a HGV driving job as a brilliant career path for women who like the prospect of the freedom of being out on the open road.”