As we travel on the road each day, without even thinking about it, we pass numerous vans, trucks and lorries. These vehicles keep goods moving between manufacturers, warehouses, retailers and homes. Professional Drivers are a vital part of the supply chain but there are certain stereotypes around driving jobs that prevent people from considering this as a career. The truth is, not all driving jobs are equal and there are plenty of opportunities to start a driving career AND spend quality time with your friends and family.
Why haven't you considered a driving career?
There are a few misconceptions surrounding driving jobs which can turn people off, without properly researching what the job might involve.
“The hours are long”
“You have to work long shifts”
“You have to spend days and nights away from your family”
“You get home late”
“You have to work weekends”
These may be true for some long-haul Drivers, however, it is not the case for all driving jobs and will depend on the specific job description. Many employers are seeing the need for jobs to be more family friendly and there are many options where driving jobs can have daytime shifts, flexible hours and rotas, making them suitable for anyone who doesn’t want to be away from home for days at a time.
What different driving jobs are there?
The world of professional driving covers many different roles, though only a rare few can become Formula One racers!
Delivery Driver jobs are the best way to get started in a driving career. Delivery jobs may involve moving goods between different locations of the same company or taking supplies to and from warehouses or distribution centres. The surge in e-commerce means there is an increased need for Final Mile Delivery Drivers, taking packages to the end user, often smaller retailers or homes. Most Delivery Drivers will drive vans below 3.5 tonnes, which means you only need a full UK issued driving licence, for Category B vehicles.
Heavy Goods Vehicles (HGVs), now also referred to as Large Goods Vehicles (LGVs), are used to move larger quantities of goods, usually over longer distances. LGV/HGV Driving jobs require more specialist training and a specific LGV licence suitable for the type of vehicle you intend to drive. You can find out more about how to become a LGV/HGV Driver here.
Which driving jobs are most family friendly?
If you have a family, or you prefer to spend time close to home, you can still consider a career in driving, as there are many roles with regular hours or flexible shifts that can fit around your home life.
Couriers, Multi-drop Delivery Drivers and Final Mile Delivery Drivers are all driving jobs that stay within a relatively small area. Whilst final ‘mile’ doesn’t mean you will only be working within one mile, it does mean that you will stay within a distance which enables you to complete your shift and return to the depot within regular daytime hours. You can find out more about being a Final Mile Courier here.
Delivery driving jobs are the most obvious choice for those with families. Although shifts may start early, that also means you finish early, leaving plenty of time to be home in the evenings. Some positions may involve weekend work, but these are often on a rota basis, so it won’t always be every weekend. If it is more appropriate for your situation, you can also find positions for weekend only driving jobs, leaving the week free for other responsibilities.
If you are a qualified LGV/HGV Driver or are considering this as a career, don’t be discouraged by the thought of long distances and days away from home. Whilst this may be true of many positions, it is certainly not all. Some companies recruit short haul LGV/HGV Drivers to work within a specific region, so deliveries can be completed, and Drivers can return to base by the end of each day. Look here to see what LGV/HGV driving jobs are available in your area. You may find some don’t involve any weekend or bank holiday work.
However, you shouldn’t rule out long-haul driving jobs. Although at first these might seem less family friendly, they can actually have some benefits. Working in a long-haul driving job means that you get longer stretches of time off, for example you might work 4 days on, 4 days off. It just means adjusting your lifestyle to fit your new routine. A shorter work week means that, even though you may be gone for 4 days, you will then be home for a longer stretch so you can plan family time, trips and visits to friends.
If you are a new parent, it is important to note that you may be entitled to maternity pay or paternity pay. If you have been with your employer more than 12 weeks, you may also be eligible for maternity or paternity leave. When you have been with the same company for over a year, you are also entitled to unpaid parental leave if you need to take care of your children. For more information on benefits and financial support for families, visit gov.uk.
When looking for a driving job, it is important to consider your work-life balance to find the role that works best with your own personal circumstances. Understanding what the job involves and how it will work around your home life is the best way to be prepared. Read more about achieving a work-life balance here.
Taking on a temporary driving job, especially in the peak times of year such as the lead up to Christmas, is a good opportunity to get a taste for the job to see if it is something you want to continue long term. There are different driving shifts you could work to suit your lifestyle and a temporary driving position gives you flexibility to choose which direction you want to go and have more control over your work schedule.
What are some other family friendly jobs?
It is common to think of careers such as office jobs as more family friendly, with their 9 to 5 hours. However, with more people now doing office-based jobs from home, it has been found that they actually tend to work longer hours, which may make these roles less conducive to a good work-life balance.
The kinds of jobs that may be considered family friendly, are those where you can arrange your work time around your home life and not have to bring your work home with you. Some jobs to consider are:
- Cleaning jobs – these often involve shift work, flexible hours or evening and weekend positions, meaning that a job as a Cleaner can be fitted around your personal life.
- Catering Assistant jobs – these are not only in restaurants and can often be found in schools, businesses and institutions where hours are in the daytime and can work around other responsibilities.
- Warehouse Operative jobs – these can cover a variety of shifts including nights, weekends, and daytime hours. As with driving, warehouses are often in need of extra staff at peak times of the year, which is a good opportunity to try out a temporary role to see how it works with your home life.
So, to answer our question, yes, driving jobs can be family friendly. With a bit of research and some planning, you will find that driving jobs don’t have to mean giving up time with your friends and family.
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