Stepping into the motor industry as a woman can be a brave career move. I know from experience that you risk not being taken seriously and when it comes to technical jargon people often talk over you because they think you don’t understand them, but that is just not the case. As a Director of a Road Safety and Driver Training company I am talking to more and more women who have taken on roles as Fleet Managers, Health and Safety Managers or Advisers and Fleet Driver Trainers.
This warms my heart! I became a Fleet Trainer in 1998 when women in this role were few and far between and I often received an unenthusiastic welcome from male trainees, especially if the training was for a truck driver! But thankfully times are changing and women are getting the recognition we deserve. My personal inspiration comes from Nikki King the MD of Isuzu Truck UK; she is passionate about women in business and has won many awards and accolades including an OBE.
UK Global Road Safety recently exhibited at Green Fleet’s ‘Arrive ‘n’ Drive’ event held at Rockingham Motor Speedway near Corby. This is a showcase of ECO cars and products aimed at Fleet Managers, allowing interested professionals to test drive ECO vehicles around the track and talk to exhibitors that are offering products and services for this specialist market. Ladies attending the event were more than happy to test their ECO driving skills; this required them to drive a stylish Citroen DS3 around a pre-prepared route, initially without coaching then to repeat the drive after coaching from a UK Global Road Safety team member. As you might expect, impressive fuel savings were recorded by the majority of drivers, resulting in an average fuel saving of 16.4%.
Coming near the top of the leader board and the best lady driver was Carol Taylor of Veritek Global with 85.5mpg. This is a remarkable result when Citroen’s own claims for fuel consumption on the type of roads we were using is around 68mpg. Julie Fitzell of LHR Express Cars at Heathrow was the best-improved female driver; she achieved a 22% fuel saving on her drive, which was well above the average for the day.
Julie told me that she always attended this show as she enjoys the relaxed atmosphere and the range of vehicles available for test driving. As the Head of Environmental Standard, selecting the right vehicle and ensuring the drivers know how to drive in an ECO friendly style is crucial to her role and the busy Heathrow business.
This demonstrates that even when modern ECO vehicles are used, it comes down to the ability, knowledge and understanding of the driver to achieve such notable results.
This year was UK Global Road Safety’s first time exhibiting at the show and Julie told us that the event and the cars improve year on year, so we are looking forward to Arrive ‘n’ Drive 2013.
Jill Vincent is a Fleet Driver Trainer who also took the ECO challenge. Her mpg for the route was an impressive 82.9 and she made fuel savings of 10.6% following coaching from our expert ECO coach. Jill also attends the event on a regular basis and told me that every year there are more female fleet managers test-driving the electric and low emission vehicles to allow them to make informed decisions for the fleets they manage. As a Fleet Trainer Jill also needs to keep up to date with green vehicles, green gadgets and technology, she managed to drive nearly all the vehicles on offer around the Rockingham circuit.
We also noticed that it was the women who were most open to working with technology to achieve their objectives. As an online training provider we do occasionally encounter drivers who can’t or won’t embrace change and don’t see how technology can be beneficial to their businesses when considering training services. An example of this is Fleet Manager Carol Taylor from Veritek Global is specifically considering an online programme for their fleet; we discussed the benefits of reduced training costs when compared to traditional practical training methods and the reduction of emissions; we don’t need drivers out on the road to deliver our cost effective training programme solutions.
About UK Global Road Safety: We are the global leader in online driver assessments and training. The programme was pioneered in 1988 & has become the Industry Standard for global online driver & fleet risk management solutions. It’s used worldwide in 45 countries with 55 languages and is employed by many of the world leading organisations. For further information concerning on-line or on-road ECO Driver Training please contact us on 01452 347332 or 0844 9106255.