Debbie and Louisa are in the driving seat

Driving a refuse collection vehicle (RCV), wearing a hi-visibility jacket and getting up early to empty Sheffield’s bins might not be every girl’s idea of fun but for Debbie Mann and Louisa Schofield its all part of doing the job they love. Debbie and Louisa are RCV drivers at Veolia Environmental Services in Sheffield. Debbie Mann, who has worked for Veolia for 20 years, says: “It’s not the life of grime people think.”

An average day for a RCV driver means getting up early for a 6:30am start.  Each driver then performs daily checks to make sure their vehicles are safe and roadworthy before heading out to collect Sheffield residents’ rubbish and recycling.  Negotiating the city’s steep hills and manoeuvring tight corners means being a highly skilled driver is a must.

Traditionally, people might expect RCV drivers to be male but residents’ reaction to the female drivers is good.  Louisa Schofield, who has been driving Heavy Goods Vehicles for eight years, says: “It’s great when residents come up to me and say its nice to see a lady driving and what a good job we’re doing.”  Louisa enjoys talking to residents when she’s out and about and also says: “My favourite part of the job is when children come and wave at us and watch the bins being emptied at the back of the vehicle.”

Debbie and Louisa enjoy being out in their vehicles and believe being a RCV driver is great whether you’re male or female.  They say they would definitely encourage others ladies to follow in their footsteps.

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