“…My Uncle George learnt how to drive an HGV in World War 2… His unit was one of the first to arrive with life saving supplies. That story really inspired me.”
Ritchie Hill – Class 2 Driver
Class 2 Driver, East Kilbride
About a year ago, Ritchie Hill made a massive career move. After 18 years working as a head chef he decided to leave the heat of the kitchen and retrain as a goods vehicle driver.
“The constant pressure of working in a busy kitchen with little or no natural light was starting to get to me,” Ritchie recalls. Ritchie was encouraged by his two uncles, both of whom had worked as HGV drivers and told him plenty of stories about life behind the wheel.
“In particular, it was my Uncle George,” Ritchie continues. “He learnt how to drive an HGV in World War 2. One night his unit were given instructions to load food and blankets. They drove through the night and discovered their destination was a concentration camp. His unit was one of the first to arrive with life saving supplies. That story really inspired me.”
So he self-financed himself through an HGV training course, passed his test first time and then set about finding himself a job. “I thought that they’d be crying out for new drivers,” says Ritchie. “What I discovered pretty quickly, is that without experience it’s really hard to find work.”
Ritchie went onto a jobs board and spotted that his local Driver Hire office in East Kilbride were looking for drivers. He was invited for an interview and taken onto their books.
One of Driver Hire’s customers, Clipper Logistics, a major national logistics company, had opportunities for double-manned HGV shifts. Ritchie passed Clipper’s three-day trial with flying colours and he joined their rota with shifts every week. Working alongside a more experienced driver gave Ritchie the essential experience he needed to kick-start his career in road transport & logistics.
“I work out of their Uddingstone Depot doing regular work for a high street fashion retailer,” says Ritchie. “I’m loving the life and already earning more than I was as a highly experienced head chef.”
As for ‘Loving the Lorry’, Ritchie’s favourite drive is a Scania. “To be honest, all the trucks I’ve driven have their good points and bad points.”
Whilst that last ‘sitting on the fence’ comment might equip him for a life in politics, Ritchie’s certain that his future lies in logistics. “I’m taking some holiday during the autumn to take my category C+E test, that’s the next stage in my new career.”
This feature was put together as part of Driver Hire’s campaign to raise awareness of National Lorry Week. Read more on National Lorry Week here.