First graduate from driver training programme


Tom White’s Enya left her dental assistant job to join the waste management world last year. She started her journey as a picker in the Rowley’s depot. When the opportunity to advance to a Class 2 driver came available, she jumped at the challenge and chance to progress, passing the course in just three months. Enya has now been a qualified skip driver for almost two months. She says she has had “really good feedback” about being one of the few female drivers in the West Midlands.

Enya recalls a woman “running out of her house, waving her arms” as she finished delivering a skip in the local area. She initially thought something was wrong with the delivery until the woman told Enya, “How refreshing it was to see a woman driving a truck.”

In 2020/21, over 51,000 people took their LGV test across the UK, yet only 13% were female.

According to the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, in 2022/21, only 35 women took the LGV test in the West Midlands compared to 894 men.

Women are also more likely to pass the test than men. 65% of women passed their LGV test compared to 63% of men last year. Women have consecutively had a higher pass rate than men for the previous three years.

What does a typical day look like for a skip driver at Tom White?

Every morning all drivers collect their keys and route for the day ahead. A route can be deliveries, meaning drivers can be on the road all day or collections. Once skips loaded with waste material have been collected from a customer, the driver brings them back to our on-site sorting facility. I asked Enya how she felt the first time she collected a skip for tipping, operating machinery carrying hundreds of kilograms of waste.

“It’s more the fear. After a week, it starts to feel normal. It is a lot to take in, but it’s a good opportunity. Every single person will help you. You’re never going to not have help here.”

Enya has been with Tom White for over a year, but her family have been part of the Tom White journey for many years. Her brother is a shovel operator. Her mother worked in the weighbridge, and her father and grandfather worked alongside the founder, Tom White and his sons. Enya remembers as a child the site where she now works being built.

Tony Spiezick, Transport Operations Manager, said:

“Enya was one of the first to apply for the training. She studied hard, and on the day of the test, she aced it – first time and became one of our skip drivers.

Enya proves to us all that with hard work and determination, people can achieve things they thought they may never have an opportunity to try. Well done, Enya, and keep up the good work.

To those who are also embarking on their training, we wish you good luck, and hopefully, you will be joining Enya and our other drivers very soon.”

Challenges within the role

Despite the excitement of her new role, Enya says there are challenges to the job that people aren’t always aware of.

“People think, oh, you’re driving around, you’re fine. But you don’t realise how mentally draining it is taking everything in.”

“There is so much to take in”, added Enya, referring to the potential hazards of driving an LGV or HGV vehicle and ensuring the safety of pedestrians, motorists and other operatives.

What’s next for Enya?

“I don’t feel like I want to stop. I feel like if there was more to do or more opportunities, why not take them? You’d be mad not to.

I’ve felt so supported here. It’s been great.”

Check back to see how Enya continues to grow at Tom White and how other people like Enya are taking part in the new opportunities available here.

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