21st century women in the milling industry
The HGV Driver: Vicky Edwards
The modern flour milling industry offers a wide range of opportunities for women – especially in jobs traditionally associated with men.
For the last 19 years, Vicky Edwards has been an HGV driver based at Carr’s Flour Mill in Maldon, Essex. Every year she covers thousands of miles, transporting flour far and wide across the country in her 44-ton lorry, and her expertise behind the wheel – not to mention her cheerful personality – has earned her industry-wide respect.
Ask her how she deals with the perceived male-ness of her profession and Vicky just laughs.
“When I first started out, I was a bit of a curiosity, I suppose,” she says. “And even now I do get the odd, ‘Blimey, it’s a bird driving that truck!’.
“But you prove you can do the job, and do it well, the comments soon stop. Now I’m regarded as a driver, not a woman driver. There are 14 drivers at Maldon and I’m the only woman, but it doesn’t make any difference.”
Vicky, now 42, says she fell into the job by accident. Having landed a job at Maldon through an agency, she was working in the warehouse when someone suggested she have a go as a driver.
“They put me through my Class 2 qualification, and I really enjoyed it so I decided to put myself through Class 1. I haven’t looked back since.”
Vicky’s husband Drew is transport manager at the Maldon plant, but she says that despite her own experience she has no plans to be office-based.
“I prefer the freedom of the open road. You’re left to your own devices, and I like nothing better than driving along, listening to Ken Bruce and Jeremy Vine on Radio 2.
“Sometimes the facilities can be less than desired, but things are getting better. It’s a great life and I love every minute of it.”