Minister meets the women who have retrained as HGV drivers
Welsh Finance Minister Rebecca Evans visited Coleg Sir Gâr this week to meet women who have put their careers in the driving seat and have qualified as HGV drivers.
The visit was arranged through the college’s delivery of the Welsh Government funded Personal Learning Account (PLA) which helped retrain over 300 people who wanted to change careers.
Through the scheme, many people have changed their lives by changing jobs and have left various sectors to join the haulage industry including the 19 women who retrained through Coleg Sir Gâr’s PLA.
The training has been delivered by COTS Training on behalf of the college.
Sian Morris, who works for Gregory Distribution, was one of the women who undertook her HGV class one licence and she was already working in the haulage industry but in an administration role.
She said: “Having worked most of my life in a transport administration role, this training seemed like natural progression and living in a household with two sons who are class one drivers, along with my husband, I set my sights on passing this challenge knowing that this would create many more job opportunities for me.
“There are far more job opportunities available to me now, none of which would be if I hadn’t undertaken this training, it’s honestly been a lifeline.
Rebecca Evans, Minister for Finance and Local Government, said: “The aim of this pilot was two-fold: to increase employment in sectors with a skills shortage; and to address gender inequality in some of those sectors. It has been fantastic to meet female drivers today who have gained their licences through the pilot, as well as their employers in the haulage industry.”
Jemma Parsons, PLA project manager at Coleg Sir Gâr added: “We wanted to respond to the shortage of HGV that was happening at the time when we arranged the training.
“We responded quickly to help address the issue of the skills shortage and we retrained over 300 people in class one and two HGV driving through COTS Training and Welsh Government funding.
“The college is delighted that Rebecca Evans visited us and recognised the work of the PLA team and the newly qualified drivers.
“Our current and future aim is responding to the current regional skills needs to upskill people in a variety of sectors.”
The colleges principal, Dr Andrew Cornish said: “I am delighted at the impact Personalised Learning Accounts (PLAs) are having with both employees and employers. Using this Welsh Government initiative, many employees across the region have been upskilled or retrained in a number of different sectors. This training has enabled employees to gain new skills that have impacted positively on their business and provided them with the confidence and qualifications which will allow them to springboard their careers forward.
“In this particular case, I am so proud of the work we have achieved with women, providing HGV training that will allow them to take their place in an ever expanding logistics sector.”