Bethany shows off her certificate in front of one of the HGVs
Bethany pictured after passing her class 1 HGV driving test, first time!
Bethany started her apprenticeship in October 2022 with Headlam in Leeds as their first female Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Driver apprentice.
Rachel, our Head of Learning & Development caught up with Bethany in November to talk about her experience. Here’s what she had to say…

Congratulations, Beth, on passing your Class 1 driving test! Tell me about your apprenticeship…

“Thank you. I saw it advertised on the Government website and thought no-one would employ a female driver, but I applied anyway. I was surprised to be invited to an interview in September and then got offered the job the next day!

“When I first started, I spent a week going around the site, spending time in the trade counter, sales department, then a week on nights in the warehouse and with the drivers. I got to see the business, how it works, where orders start and how they get to the driver. I began by being a driver’s mate and then started van driving in November.

“I hit a challenge early on with the DVLA and my driving licence as I have an ADHD diagnosis which I take medication for. There was a lot of back and forth with DVLA and doctors, it was really frustrating. But the team were great, they supported me through the whole process.

What impact did the delays have on you?

“I started at the same time as two other apprentices and they were progressing whilst I was standing still, I felt so behind but there was nothing I could do. Some people call it a disability, but neurodiversity and mental health issues shouldn’t hold you back. Anyway, after 6 months I came home one day to find my driving licence on the doormat, and the rest is history!

How have the team at Headlam supported you?

“I wouldn’t be here without Darren, Mikey and Andy. If I come back from a bad day, I can hang out with them, have a cup of tea and they listen. They’ve really included me within the team; I’m the only female driver apprentice so they bought me female uniform as they are typically men’s sizes.

How have Seetec, your training provider, supported you with your ADHD diagnosis and your learning?

“Dawn and Tony at Seetec have been brilliant. Dawn set up an initial meeting with Darren and talked about what reasonable adjustments could be made and in workshops and meetings, I have the freedom to leave as and when to take time to myself. They also print any handouts for me. I need routine so reviews are booked in advance around my working patterns.

How does the need for routine affect you in the role?

“Routine is really important to me and it’s often the small changes with no notice that have an impact, that’s just how my brain functions. I overcome it by thinking about what could happen and prepare myself for every eventuality, so I’ll always plan ahead. Sometimes in the role a route may change, or I may have to cover sickness at short notice so I try and anticipate when that may happen and ask for as much notice as possible from the team.

Tell me what you love about your job…

“It’s the freedom to get up, drive here and then get in my own vehicle which I know is clean and safe. I love the team, I always go home happy. I also love the customers; sometimes I have to ask them to help me carry the carpet, it bothers me a bit, but the customers are great, and I know my customers that I feel comfortable asking. With this licence, I’m now set up for life. This apprenticeship has given me a career with a good salary.

What would you say to anyone who’s considering an apprenticeship or career in driving?

“Just apply! I was worried about driving a wagon and lifting carpets, but its ok, it’s hard but it’s good. Don’t let ‘neurodiversity’ or gender get in the way, be open from the get-go and just be yourself.”

Has Bethany’s story inspired you to take on a new challenge? Click here to find out more about our LGV (C+E) Driver apprenticeship: Large Goods Vehicle (C+E) Driver | Seetec Outsource