International Women’s Day 2023 – HGV Apprentice Testimonial

This International Women’s Day, we are sharing a testimonial from one of our recent HGV Apprentices – Charlotte Brooks. Charlotte worked at Co-Op in Plymouth while she completed her Apprenticeship.

It can sometimes be daunting for women to enter the logistics industry, unsure how they will be supported throughout a journey that has traditionally been dominated by men. We pride ourselves on creating opportunities for women to thrive, working hard with our partners to ensure everyone gets the best possible experience from their Apprenticeship.


Charlotte Brooks – HGV Apprentice Testimonial

What did you do before you started at Co-op?

I worked in the Dockyard for BABCOCK as a reactor cleaner, also working on the missile seal programme. It was a great job with so many opportunities to progress within the company, but I just knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do so I was determined to change my future.

I was looking online at Class 1 jobs, seeing what was out there. I knew it was something I wanted to do and it had been on my mind for a long time.

It was then that I saw this programme come up. I knew if I didn’t at least try and go for it, I would be missing such a good opportunity. Co-op have so much to offer, and it was honestly the best thing I ever did applying for his job.


How did you find the learning process?

The learning process has genuinely been amazing. We had a brilliant apprenticeship mentor who would bend over backwards for us. They helped us throughout the whole process and put in a lot of effort to make sure we succeeded to the best of our ability. Additionally, we have been able to have online help at any time with OLLIE.


What challenges did you face as an Apprentice?

I thankfully haven’t faced any major challenges! One thing I would say – I’m not very good academically. I struggle with computer work, written work etc so with OLLIE there have been times where I’ve had to put a little more effort in.

The great thing with this apprenticeship, however, is that I had the time to sit down and work through this. We had many hours dedicated to classroom work, which has been really helpful.


What’s next for you?

I knew I wanted to be a HGV driver for a long time, so I’m really happy and content with the idea of hopefully spending many years at Co-op behind the wheel. I can finally say that I’ve got the career I want.

There are opportunities within Co-op logistics where I could progress, so I guess you never know what the future holds!


Any final thoughts?

I would say, without doubt, this has been the greatest experience. We get paid to learn, hands on experience and receive so much help and guidance, which is amazing. You don’t get chucked into the deep end with an apprenticeship either, which I find reassuring.

I’m 30, so it’s never too late to go chase your dreams. If you can do an apprenticeship with the career you want, then 100% go for it, you won’t regret it!


Thank you so much, Charlotte, and good luck on all your future endeavours! We are certain you will go on to do great things with Co-op supporting you.

We are so proud of all the women who go through our Logistics programme, and are pleased to say that 31% of people who pass do so with a distinction! This is far above the national average of 19%. This is a huge testament to how hard women work on this Apprenticeship and how much of an asset they are to the businesses that support them.


If you would like to find out more about how you can access funding to hire an Apprentice with us, read more here.

Find out more about starting an Apprenticeship with Co-op here.

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