In the male-dominated transport industry it's great to come across a good news story on some of the UK's talented female lorry drivers. For any ladies and young people out there with aspirations to make it big in the world of lorry driving, it doesn't get much more inspirational than the story of Holly and Kate Bowers. The two sisters have become the third generation of their family to gain their HGV driving credentials and, at just 20 and 22 respectively, the girls are also the youngest women to do so.
A Family Affair
Being female was no obstacle to the Bowers girls' career choice, and their decision to follow their grandfather and father into the family business was a natural one. William Bowers, now 72, started out doing haulage jobs 27 years ago with the founding of his company TLP Group, in Staffordshire. His son Martyn followed him into the business when it became clear William needed help with the volume of haulage jobs. He is now a director of the company for which he worked as a lorry driver for 25 years.
Sisters Are Doing it for Themselves
In 2017 it's the turn of the next generation of Bowers to make their mark in the world of haulage jobs. Older sister Kate went straight into the family business from school and started out washing trucks part time, graduating to full time work soon after.
However, Holly worked as a racehorse trainer before an accident resulting in a broken ankle meant she had to make a career change.
Initially, both girls obtained their forklift and scissor lift licences, working in the logistics side of TLP in the warehouse/depot. Kate then obtained her class two licence and was determined to achieve her class one (which would allow her to take on haulage jobs in the heaviest of lorries, up to 44 tonnes). While the task was not without its challenges, she succeeded in July of 2016, at the tender age of 21.
Younger sister Kate has had an even more remarkable ride to the top, only joining the family company 12 months ago. She passed her licences, including the coveted class one, in a very short space of time and her proud grandfather, William, declared her "a natural".
Although they made it look relatively easy, obtaining an HGV licence is no walk in the park, with even the girls' father doubting they'd be up to the intensity of the examinations. A class two licence requires a gruelling 40 hours of training, while a class one includes an additional 20 hours before a driver is permitted to sit for the test. But both girls passed with flying colours.
New Blood, Young Blood
Apart from securing the family transport lineage for another generation, the Bowers girls have injected a much needed youth serum into an industry that traditionally has difficulty attracting young people. However, with a huge demand for qualified HGV drivers, there are extensive opportunities to be had in what can be a very lucrative industry. As well as haulage jobs, the transport industry offers career opportunities in logistics, administration, finance and warehousing.
When Holly Bowers obtained her class one licence at just 20 years of age, she became the youngest woman in the UK to do so. Together with her sister Kate, the young women stand as an inspiration to young people of all genders all over the country.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage jobs with available drivers. Over 4,500 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.