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We caught up with Ellie Jones to find out what she loves about working on the highways.



“I’m Ellie Jones. I’m originally from London but moved to Peterborough two year’s ago. I live in Holbeach with my cousin Sinead. Before I joined the team I didn’t know what traffic management was, I just thought the contractors handled the roadworks. I didn’t know all the components that go into a closure on the road, and all the people involved. I think that lack of awareness is why there aren’t as many females in the industry. I think as a business we need to talk about what traffic management is more often, and to a broader audience so that they’re aware of what it entails and what a career here looks like.”

She thinks the other barrier is the misguided attitude of some of those already in the industry, that it is a job most girls wouldn’t want to do. She explains:

“I think this attitude stops girls before they even get the chance to decide for themselves if it’s a job they’ll like. I think it’s the responsibility of everyone who works in the industry to share vacancies with girls: sisters, wives, girlfriends, cousins. Because it is a job girls can do!”

Ellie is a traffic management operative. She joined the team in October 2021. As with all new recruits, she started in the yard making signs, fixing lamps and loading wagons.

“I was there for about two months it was a lovely atmosphere, and I had some good working relationships. Sinead and I went out onto the road at about the same time. Covid was the start of a lot of changes as some of the team retired or moved onto new things and so it was time to try something new.

“I prefer the work we do at night, but I prefer my lifestyle on days! Swapping between the two really messes with your head so consistency is important. It’s also important to have boundaries so that you’re not just working all the time, which I guess is the same in any job.

“What I love about being a traffic management operative is that every day is different. It’s a relaxed atmosphere when you’re in the depot, we come in early to have a chat with everyone because the people are amazing. Then out on the network, it’s really thrilling to be on the back of the IPV or pulling a taper.

“The work can be as simple or as complex as you want it to be. I find that there are a lot of things to learn if you want to learn them. It’s also really experience-based based so you’re always learning from someone else with more experience, which builds a great coaching relationship. Don’t get me wrong, you get some lazy people who take advantage, but for the most part, everyone is really passionate about what they do. Sinead coached me when I was a trainee. When it was quiet on the gate, I would practice pulling a taper over and over. This meant that when I first went out with another team, I was able to pull the taper straight away, they were really impressed. It was a good taper too!”

Ellie believes that the most important thing for a girl to know if she wants a career in traffic management is that there’s nothing they can’t do just because they’re female. You need to be driven and determined, she explains. There’s nothing you can’t do, nothing we use is heavy, it’s all in the technique. She is also ready to impart some very practical advice for life working on the road:

“I would recommend that you always have a change of socks with you and baby wipes. You won’t find a traffic management operative without baby wipes and at least a change of socks in their bag!”

Like Sinead, Ellie advocates a readiness to adapt to the working environment, she explains:

“It’s different. I was quite taken aback at the start because everyone shouts at you. But that’s because you work on a motorway, you have to shout otherwise you can’t be heard. They’re not shouting at you, they’re just shouting. Now I shout too. But I think if you’re not expecting that you could take it the wrong way. It toughens you up that’s for sure!

“In the past, where I’ve worked before, I’ve always had to censor myself, think about the language I’m using, the stories or jokes I tell. I don’t have to do that here; I can be completely myself.”