13 Sep Ballard is Best of Britain Finalist
Louise Ballard, HGV Driver for Bidfood was nominated in the wholesaler’s Best of Britain Awards as Driver of the Year – she says her lorry driver dad inspired her to be the best driver she could be.
How long have you worked in your current job?
I have been an HGV Driver for Bidfood for four and a half years.
What are your day to day responsibilities?
I deliver customers’ orders – these are made of of both food and non food products, to a variety of places and customer types. These include schools, hospitals, prisons, care homes, restaurants, hotels, public houses and private individuals.
It is of utmost importance to ensure these goods arrive and are kept at the correct temperatures in line with food safety standards. Another key part of my day to day duties is to complete a check of the vehicle and to report any defects and to complete maintenance as necessary.
What’s your most rewarding or greatest achievement:
It was definitely being nominated for Bidfood’s Best of Britain Awards as the Driver of the Year 2019. To have been nominated and recognised for such an amazing Award is something I am incredibly proud of.
I have fond memories of him taking me out in his cab as a small child and I wondered if I would ever be as good as he was at driving.
How did you get into driving 18t trucks?
My dad has been a lorry driver for as long as I can remember. He is a huge inspiration to me and I hope that me following in his footsteps makes him proud. I have fond memories of him taking me out in his cab as a small child and I wondered if I would ever be as good as he was at driving.
What do you love most about your job? What would you change?
I love meeting people – during deliveries I get to interact with so many different kinds of businesses. When I’m driving in the street, I love hearing children talking about the food they can see on the lorry’s graphics.
How do people react to seeing a woman in a traditionally male role?
I think the reaction is generally very positive. People are surprised and have asked me if the job is difficult for a woman or even if I am the actual driver! It’s still considered unusual for a woman to drive a lorry but it is becoming more common and I believe people’s reactions will change as more women do the job.
How do you manage people’s reactions?
I answer their questions as honestly as I can and try to promote the concept that anyone can do anything they really want to.
People are surprised and have asked me if the job is difficult for a woman
Is there anyone in particular that’s helped in your career?
I am fortunate to work alongside my partner, another lorry driver at Bidfood. It is a huge support to have someone to talk to who knows the job inside out. He has coached and encouraged me to be the best I can be and to believe in myself – and to know how to handle things when situations don’t go to plan.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I would like to keep doing what I’m doing and still be delivering to some of the same lovely regular customers of mine. I would also like to train for and attain my Class 1 licence as this is the natural progression from Class 2.
How do you like your eggs?
In a beautifully baked Victoria sponge with jam and cream.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
The best piece of advice I’ve been given is “do your best, that’s all you can do” – I use this every day.
What’s the best film you’ve seen?
It’s Moulin Rouge. I first saw this at the cinema as a teenager and I know it almost word for word. I love the musicality and the story, it’s the epitome of “feel good”.
Is there anyone you really look up to and why?
I’ve heard so many people say “I couldn’t drive that” but I always reply that anyone can do anything they want to do if they work hard and believe they can.
My Dad, he was the very reason I learnt to drive a lorry. He has driven for many, many years and if I am ever even half as good at maneuver a lorry as he is, then I will have succeeded in life. He has worked hard all his life and he could retire now, but he is still doing what he loves. How could I not look up to him?!
What advice would you give to other women looking to get into a similar role?
I would say get out there and do it, there’s nothing to lose, only many things to gain. Seek recommendations on who to complete HGV training with and then go for it! I’ve heard so many people say “I couldn’t drive that” but I always reply that anyone can do anything they want to do if they work hard and believe they can.