A BURNLEY businesswoman is encouraging more women to take their bus and LGV tests to help combat driver shortages.

Andrea Haworth, director at LGV driving school Ben Shaw Training, has now passed her PCV (passenger carrying vehicle) category D test, enabling her to drive a bus or coach, and is already qualified to drive large goods vehicles (LGVs).

Andrea, 36, now holds all seven categories on her licence – and can drive anything from a car up to an articulated lorry.

She decided to take the driving tests to inspire other women and to help her understand the pressures they face when taking the exams.

Andrea said: “I began working at Ben Shaw four years ago and started taking the tests not long after.

“More and more women are coming to us to learn and I wanted to be able to empathise and understand how they were feeling on test day.

“I wanted to prove to them they had nothing to fear and passing was achievable.

“There is a belief that the LGV industry is solely for men, but there is an increasing number of women becoming bus and truck drivers.”

Andrea added: “In fact, women have a much better pass rate than men.”

Women are hugely under-represented with the latest figures stating that just eight per cent of all 400,000 professional drivers are female.

Andrea is also a qualified CPC (certificate of professional competence) and PCV examiner, which enables candidates to sit the tests at the firm’s offices.

She said: “It can be nerve-racking going to the test centre, so we have tried to alleviate that pressure.

“I understand how people are feeling because I’ve been in their position and can relate to that.

“Taking your LGV or bus exams can be very daunting, especially in a male-dominated industry.

“Women have a role to play in the industry and can make a good career out of it.”

Ben Shaw Training Ltd, based at the former McBride’s factory, in Blacker Street, Burnley, are specialists in LGV, coach and car and trailer training.

The company has grown year-on-year since its launch in 2005.