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Becoming a Female LGV Driver at ASCO, Tracey McCallum

Published: 19 January 2024
Meet the Team , United Kingdom

Tracey McCallum, LGV Driver, recently joined ASCO's Northern UK Transport team, becoming the third female LGV driver ASCO's history.

Read below to learn about Tracey's journey and how she feels about achieving her lifelong dream.

My Journey to Become a Driver

Everyone has a dream as a child of what they want to be when they grow up: a vet, an astronaut, a teacher. Not me; I wanted to be a lorry driver. You could say that driving is in my blood, as my father was a lorry driver for 36 years for a family company, and I treasure the memories of the times I spent my school holidays with him in his lorry.

Growing up, my dad didn’t want me to start driving lorries; he was happy for me to come with him but not to pursue it as a genuine career. He felt that because I was a female, I shouldn't be doing what he considered a man's job. Driving lorries was, and still is to an extent, seen as a more male-dominated industry. I think he eventually changed his mind because I spoke about it all the time, and he saw how much I truly wanted it.

Before becoming an LGV driver, I was a support worker while my two boys grew up. I was an Arch Responder for Aberdeenshire Council for eight years, but I could never shake the drive to chase after my dreams. After my boys had grown up, during the COVID-19 pandemic, I decided that I was going to take that leap and start working towards becoming fully qualified. I set myself a goal to have a full-time driving job before I turned 40. I worked so many extra hours at the council and became a relief lorry driver to help afford my training and certifications. I was certified as a Class 2 driver first and then saved up again to do my Class 1. Two months before I turned 40, I had achieved my goal and got my first full-time job as a lorry driver for a local company, where I stayed for the next two years before applying for the role of LGV Driver at ASCO.

It had taken me three attempts to pass my Class 1 and I didn't tell anyone I had resit it. The first person I told that I passed was my dad. He was so happy for me; he had a tear in his eye. He knew how much I wanted this. He has dementia and was in hospital at the time; he sometimes forgets who I am, but he always knows that I drive a lorry when I come in with my hi-vis vest on and talk to him about lorries. I take lots of pictures of the scenery during my tea breaks when I am out delivering items so that I can show him where I go, and he sometimes recognises the places from his time as a driver. My sons and my dad told me how proud they were of me. Telling my sons was an incredible experience, as they had seen me working so hard to achieve my goal, they encouraged me to apply for my first driving job and they took photos of me beside my lorry when I got it. They were always so encouraging, especially at a time when a lot of people weren't.

I'm very determined, and while many people didn't believe I could do it and voiced that I wouldn’t or shouldn't pursue lorry driving as a career, I knew I could prove them wrong.

My ASCO Journey

I currently work as an LGV Driver for ASCO's Transport Team, supporting the Northern UK business. Before coming to ASCO, I spent two years at a local haulage company. It was beneficial to work there first, as they had a female driver on their team, and it helped me gain confidence in the role. I achieved my ADR qualification while working for them, and after I had settled in, I felt like I was no longer scared to ask questions.

I originally wanted to apply for a job at ASCO when I first started driving, but I was intimidated because I knew it was a male-dominated team. However, when I joined ASCO, they put me at ease, and I had no reason to feel nervous or intimidated.

My friend and fellow LGV Driver, Keith Mitchell, encouraged me to join ASCO. I had worked with him previously, but he knew I wanted a change and that a role had opened at ASCO. He became my mentor when I joined and helped me assimilate into the role. Being a female in a male-dominated industry has its challenges, and while I am out delivering to external businesses, this mentality is still apparent, but I've certainly not experienced anything like that here at ASCO.

I enjoy the challenge; every job has them. There hasn’t been anything at ASCO that I haven’t managed to do because I am a woman. I felt a sense of accomplishment when I joined because I had previously struggled to get the pins into the trailer without extra help; however, at ASCO, the pins they use on their trucks mean that I manage this myself. It just shows how much a small difference in equipment can make to your environment and confidence in your role.

Pictured above are Tracey McCallum, Paul Davidson, Transport Operations Manager - UK and Keith Mitchell, LGV Driver

Next Steps

I recently went through my Personal Development Plan with my Manager, Paul Davidson, and I emphasised how much I enjoy being a driver. I've worked hard to get where I am today. I love the freedom of being on the road on my own, and I enjoy being part of a large team and the challenges that come with the job. There is so much more to this role than just driving from A to B!

If I can give some advice to women who are interested in joining a more male-dominated industry, it would just be to do it! The job is what you make of it yourself. It can be hard with some males not accepting you in the industry, but most are fine with it. You can do whatever you put your mind to, regardless of gender.

By sharing my story with everyone, I hope to empower anyone who has ever felt that they may not fit a certain criteria for a role to follow in my footsteps. Push yourself to achieve any goal you have. I have a young granddaughter, and I hope that when she hears my story, it will inspire her to just go for it!