Teenage trucker Katie Gillard is celebrating landing her first job – as Britain’s youngest LORRY DRIVER.
The pretty 19-year-old has always dreamed of becoming a trucker and applied for her heavy goods licence when the age limit was lowered from 21 to 18 last year.
She sailed through her Category C LGV exams last month and has now landed a job at her dad Andrew’s haulage firm, J L Gillard and Sons.
Katie, who stands just 5ft 4in tall, starts work later this month but admits she cuts an unusual figure sitting behind the wheel of her enormous 32 tonne lorry.
But she is looking forward to starting work later this month, when she will be driving the lorry on long distance trips around the UK.
Katie, from Leigh on Mendip, near Frome, Somerset, said: ”It’s quite unusual for a woman to drive a truck but the size of the vehicle doesn’t bother me – in fact I am quite looking forward to driving it full-time
”When I told my dad I had passed he was really pleased for me and I am really grateful to him for suggesting I take the test in the first place.”
Her grandfather James Gillard set up the family haulage business J L Gillard and Sons in the late mid 1980s.
His son Andrew took over the reigns when he retired and encouraged his daughter Katie, who always wanted to learn to drive the huge trucks, to take her test.
In September last year, a change in the law enabled her to take her test – which has a theory and practical section – and last month passed with flying colours.
Katie, who works part-time in her local pub, the Cross Keys, added: ”I jumped at the chance after my dad asked me if I would go and work for him.
”I had to undertake several practical and theory examinations in the two-day course and it was really nerve-racking.
”The first time I sat behind the wheel was terrifying but I think I picked it up pretty quickly and really enjoy driving them.
”I am really pleased I’ve passed and I’m going to start working towards another licence, which will mean I will be able to drive 42-tonne lorries.”
Katie passed her driving test aged 17 first time and soon started learning to drive lorries with her dad.
Her mum Sandra, 43, said: ”We’re extremely proud of Katie and what she has achieved.”
Dad Andrew, 48, said: ”It’s great for Katie and I’m really pleased for her. It just seemed natural for her to join the family business when she passed her exam.”
The Road Haulage Association said it was not aware of a younger qualified truck driver in Britain.
Head of training Steve Ellis said: ”This is a fantastic achievement and it’s really nice to see a young girl passing her test.
”People do tend to be quite a bit older when they decide to take their test and I’m sure Katie is among the youngest to have ever passed her LGV category C Licence.”