How do we expose youngsters to the haulage industry and recruit new drivers? I thought to myself. Companies are not keen to allow minors or even passengers in their vehicles anymore for reasons I quite understand. I was working as the Lead Transport Manager at a large aggregate firm at the time of pondering this and I thought that perhaps we could arrange a driving event using our own lorries. All I would need was a suitable place to hold the event. The place was courtesy of H D Ricketts at Lichfield. Adrian the MD of Ricketts was similarly minded to the idea as I was. He would provide a safe route and management – I would take care of the insurance and health and safety. Plenty of our drivers volunteered their time and the vehicles were provided by both companies.
Yes we actually allowed complete novices to drive our lorries. Anyone 12 years old and upwards who could reach the pedals safely could drive. Obviously, safety was meticulously planned and the drivers and I agreed every aspect from getting in and out, driving around the site and emergency procedures. The route was completely off main roads but was still interesting enough to get a feel for things. Some vehicles were artics but all were automatics.
Well you know when you invite 250 guests you hope that you will get maybe an 80% turn out… 350 turned up. Wives, husbands, sons, daughters and many bought along friends. The bank manager
and his wife, the insurance agent and the RHA even made an appearance. It was a great event with many having several drives. What was planned as a breakfast event on a Saturday was still going at 3pm.
It was a lot of fun and maybe just a few will have been inspired to give it a go in future. Certainly, I believe most will have a new appreciation for what drivers do. Thankfully for me I can say there were no incidents but pleasingly the effect it had on my team was outstanding. There is pleasure in giving, even more so than there is in receiving.