Class 1 Driver, Jo
one of AJN’s Class 1 Drivers
Q. What does your role involve?
I drive a Mercedes lorry delivering steel to customers all along the south coast of England and Wales.
Q. How long have you worked at AJN and why did you choose to work here?
I’ve worked at AJN for nearly three years. I was tramping for another company and wasn’t enjoying being away from home all week. A friend of mine worked for AJN as an agency driver and phoned me to recommend them as a good company to work for. I liked the idea of working with a load I wasn’t expected to lift and carry.
Q. What do you best like about your job?
Everyone is so friendly. The combi drivers and production staff all nod, wave or say hello. The other drivers all chat and give advice. Deliveries aren’t specifically times so there isn’t too much stress and most of all, you’re appreciated by staff and customers. I don’t see myself as a lady driver, I’m an AJN driver.
Q. What challenges do you come up against in your role and how do you handle them?
Throwing the chains over a load can be a challenge at times. A friend gave me a hook which helps drag the chains over or under the top layer. Otherwise its simply a case of taking each load step by step and building up your strength.
Q. Looking at the company today compared to when you started, what do you think has changed the most and has it changed for the better?
AJN is a family run business that appreciates those that work for them. This is reflected in the staff benefits and bonus schemes as well as how friendly and personal everyone is. I think Covid played a part in separating and isolating the different departments but that’s easing now things are getting back to normal again.
Q. What’s your best memory or biggest achievement during your time at AJN?
I think I’ve had a lot of personal achievements. Completing a delivery at a site that’s really tight or difficult to get into is an achievement and I love that customers remember me and call me by my name. I’ve had a round of applause from women when I’ve parked in a particularly awkward yard and I’ve had customers say they don’t know how we get around tight bends because they struggle in their cars. These things always make my day.
Q. The steel construction industry, typically, can be seen as a male dominant sector, do you feel that’s the case at AJN?
Not really. Yes, AJN employs more men than women but that’s not the ethos of this company but more the applicants they’ve had to chose from. From the very beginning I have always been treated as an individual and equal. I do the same job as the boys and I get paid the same wage.
Q. What’s the most important piece of advice you’d give to a woman thinking of starting a career in the steel construction industry?
Make sure you can physically do the job. Its hard work, its dirty work and you have to give steel the respect it deserves or it will hurt you. But that advice would be the same for any man.
Q. What do you do in your spare time – any hobbies, interests?
I’ve got a garden with a goldfish pond and love to potter out there. I enjoy taking my dog for long walks. I also collect whisky. I don’t drink it but plan to sell my collection at some point.