Downton has won the inaugural Haulier Diversity Award at the Road Haulage Association’s annual lunch held in London on 12 July in recognition of the initiatives the company takes to promote equal opportunities for all its employees. The Award was one of two launched by the RHA as part of its 70th anniversary celebrations.
With these new awards the RHA aims to recognise transport operators that have taken commendable initiatives to promote career opportunities for people regardless of gender, age, physical ability and other factors in a bid to grow the industry by another 1.2 million people before 2022.
In its entry for the awards, Downton highlighted areas where it embraces and encourages diversity across its extensive business operations. This includes, for example, the family values ethos that helps new employees become part of a team of more than 1300 employees and develop their careers in the transport industry regardless of age, race, gender, religion or experience.
Downton’s commitment to diversity was demonstrated earlier this year when the company’s first Gender Pay Gap Report showed that male and female roles are paid equally. Although the majority of operational staff are male, female employees are well represented in head office and middle management roles. One of these is Janette Wallace, the Runcorn Depot Manager who last year was recognised as one of the most inspirational role models in the UK’s transport and logistics industry when she was awarded the FTA Everywoman in Transport & Logistics Freight Leader Award.
Downton is actively seeking to recruit more female drivers by drawing on the accomplishments of its existing team members. Gloucester-based Sue Hyde and Runcorn-based Annette Stagg were part of the company’s Truckfest team last year where in addition to promoting Downton’s business they discussed their experiences with a number of women interested in joining the industry.
Downton also understands the importance of attracting young blood into the industry. It hosts an annual apprenticeship open day and uses further education and industry events to promote the careers available. The company currently has ten active apprentices nationwide in HGV driving, technician and accountancy.
The RHA’s 70 Anniversary lunch was held at the London Hilton on Park Lane with guest speakers including its Chief Executive Richard Burnett, UK Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling and famous radio DJ Tony Blackburn. More than £20,000 was raised at the event for the Transaid transport charity.