XPO Logistics launches Female Driver Academy to encourage more women to join the industry

XPO has created a new Female Driver Academy to help attract more women into the industry. The female drivers who join the Academy will undertake a 12 to 16-week programme using the XPO Logistics internal driver training team to develop and sharpen their skills. The goal is to create a corps of highly skilled and professional female drivers who are intimately familiar with the company’s customers and products.

The first candidate assessment days were held at the beginning of May. Lynn Brown, vice president, human resources—UK and Ireland, XPO Logistics, said: “We will be employing the candidates from day one so they can earn a living while training to become a vital part of our team. Our customer, Saint-Gobain UK and Ireland, has backed the initiative by offering roles in their British Gypsum and PAM operations. Our trainer will buddy our candidates, ensuring they can learn from someone who has first-hand experience of what they are going through and can provide the best possible support.” The first Female Driver Academy candidates are expected to start driving HGVs full-time for XPO by August this year.

Three of the initial candidates coming through the Female Academy are thrilled by the support offered by XPO and are excited to begin what is, for some, a “dream career.”

Steph is already a DAF commercial vehicle parts delivery driver who transports HGV components to dealerships. She is “beyond excited” to get behind the wheel of a truck and continue a family tradition of driving HGVs. As a child, she spent her summer months touring Europe in her grandfather’s truck, completing continental deliveries.

Steph said: “This is a great opportunity to get more women involved in the HGV industry. There are other ways to achieve your license, but most HGV jobs require years of experience. The academy gives you more knowledge and experience. I’m particularly looking forward to getting more confidence and experience on the roads, taking advantage of wider opportunities at XPO Logistics, and exploring the country.”

Casey was an apprentice tattoo artist who previously worked in warehousing for XPO Logistics. Her father was also an HGV driver, and she spent her childhood travelling the country with him. She is looking forward to continuing a family tradition.

Casey said: “I have wanted to be a truck driver since I was four years old, and now I’ll be able to learn about the life of a trucker. The Female Academy is a great campaign for women, allowing people like me to start a good career and fulfil our dreams. Without this life-changing opportunity with the academy, I wouldn’t have been able to start my dream career.”

Philippa has most recently been working for a funeral memorial consultant but previously was part of the logistics industry. She has a real passion for people, especially after dealing with the public in highly dynamic situations. When Philippa previously worked in logistics, she got to know the driving team well and, after listening to their experiences, decided she wanted to pursue a career in this area. She looks forward to passing, getting her “sunnies on, the road, and some good music!”

Philippa added: “What attracts me to the life of an HGV driver is the level of independence – a life behind a desk isn’t for everyone! It’s really nice to be training with other women, and we can share experiences and support each other. I could probably get there without the Female Academy, but it would be a lot harder, and I wouldn’t have a support network during training and afterwards to carry me forward.”

The XPO Female Driver Academy is part of the company’s Driver Excellence Academy, which was established to help people from all backgrounds who wish to train as an HGV driver. The only requirement is that participants must be aged 18 to drive an HGV. Each Driver Excellence Academy trainee works towards receiving the relevant qualification for the type of vehicle they want to drive. For example, a Cat B car licence can be upskilled to a Cat Class C (Rigid) or Cat CE (Artic). It is possible to go straight from a Cat B to a Cat CE licence.

XPO Logistics is a leading innovative supply chain company in Europe, offering end-to-end logistics solutions that combine full-truckload, less-than-truckload, pallet distribution, last-mile delivery, global freight forwarding, and warehousing services. The company tailors its solutions to the specific needs of its customers in a wide range of industrial and consumer sectors.