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As she marks 25 years at GTG Glasgow, we spoke to Pamela Brown, a transport trailblazer at the centre.

How did you start out in Transport?

‘I was in my first job for five years after leaving school, before I was made redundant. Very soon after, though, I interviewed for an Accounts role with GTG Training at Somerville Drive in Glasgow. I believe I secured the job as I had experience in other areas that were beneficial to the company.

‘After five years in the Accounts department, I got the opportunity to transfer to Transport. I started off as the transport controller and was in this role for many years before being promoted to transport manager in 2018.’

What made you want to work in this industry?

‘I had no experience or knowledge of the transport industry, but I always like a challenge! The Transport department was in the middle of a staffing reshuffle – a new transport manager had been appointed and both administrators had given their notice in, so I was appointed to the role of transport controller.

‘That meant I had just one week to learn all Transport department processes, procedures and administrative duties, which was very challenging but also very rewarding.’

What are the most rewarding aspects of your role?

‘It’s lovely to receive personal reviews from customers on how much they have enjoyed their training courses, and how great the instructors were. It’s also great seeing the joy – and relief! – on candidates’ faces when they are given the news from the DVSA examiner to say that they have passed their driving test.’

You’ve completed many of the courses you look after – how important do you think that is for carrying out your role, and to understand the needs of trainers and candidates?

‘I completed a VQ in Driving Goods Vehicles and gained my LGV Category C (Class 2) Licence, while I was transport controller. This has helped me in my roles ever since, as I now know how my customers feel when training, and their feelings before sitting their driving test. It was also great to learn first-hand how my instructors deliver the training courses, and how they communicate with the learners.

As transport manager, I sat the ten-day National/International CPC Freight Transport Manager qualification.  This is a very intense course with a low national pass rate so I was extremely pleased when I passed first time.  Even though this qualification won’t assist me immensely in my job role, it has given me a good insight into the industry and also the respect of my staff.’

You started out in role just more than 25 years ago now – how much do you think the Transport industry landscape has changed during that time?

‘During my time at GTG, I have seen more and more women attending our training courses, especially the Transport Manager courses for the freight and passenger industry, which makes me very proud to see.

‘Training for the transport and logistics Industry hasn’t changed so much. Any changes we see are legislative and as we deal with a range of award bodies, so in that respect it’s very important that we keep up to date with any changes.

‘Of course, the biggest recent change to our way of working has been due to the COVID-19 pandemic, with class sizes dramatically reduced to comply with social distancing restrictions introduced.

‘Such restrictions had a huge impact on our courses in 2020. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, we knew that we had to change the way we delivered our training courses, which led us to introduce online remote training.

‘This adapted way of working has been a challenge for our instructors as well as for our candidates, because our instructors are not used to sitting in front of a computer for seven hours a day delivering courses. Similarly, some learners found this very challenging as their computer skills were sometimes very limited.

‘From course reviews received during the past year we have found that some learners enjoy being able to attend a course remotely, but we have also had feedback that some customers dislike this way of training and would prefer to wait until they can learn in the classroom again. This is something that we have all had to adapt to, and learn from.’

What’s your advice to a young woman starting out in her career, or a more experienced career-changer, who would like to work in transport?

‘The transport and logistics industry is still very male-dominated but it is definitely not the same environment as it was many years ago. There is more respect for everyone and I would definitely encourage any woman interested in transport, whether it’s driving, a transport controller role, or to become a transport manager, to join the industry.’

Billy Hammond, GTG director, paid tribute to Pamela’s 25 years’ service. He said: ’Well done to Pamela on achieving this milestone.

‘When Pamela first started her role in transport there were a lot of processes and new industry terminology for her to get her head around. But in completing many of the driver training courses, including obtaining an HGV Licence, Pamela can truly empathise with learners sitting their course, because while giving them advice, she can say that she has done the course herself.

‘25 years with the one company is something to really celebrate these days, so well done and thank you, Pamela.’