A group of women in Cape Breton are putting the pedal to the metal as part of a course that offers opportunities for women in the trucking industry.

Twenty-two recruits are taking part in the Nova Scotia Community College's Women Unlimited program, a 14 week introduction to opportunities in trades.

The group spent the day at a commercial truck training school in Sydney, learning the ins and outs of an industry that has been historically dominated by men.

“There's more and more women coming into the trucking industry and they're realizing that we can do it,” says Colleen Arbuckle, trucking school administrator.

The trucking school’s recruiter, Emily Stokes, says only 3 per cent of drivers are female.

“It's amazing to see 20 women here, lots of whom are interested in the trucking industry,” says Stokes. “To be here today with them and see how excited they are to get out into the workforce, it's incredible.”

For Cheryl Duchemin, hopping into the driver's seat of a long-haul truck represents a real switch of gears.

“I actually just had a baby a couple of years ago, so I've been a stay-at-home mom for a while. I just love to drive,” says Duchemin.

Some of the women admit that, in the past, they worried their gender might be a barrier in a job like this.

“You barely ever hear of any women drivers and I just hope I can be part of the team and break that,” says Dawn MacLeod, student. “I always wanted to truck drive, for the longest time that I can remember.”

But whether it's heavy equipment operating, or long-haul trucking, they now say they feel opportunities are as endless as the open road.

“There's no stopping us,” says Tammy Tortola, student. “Once we got into that program, we got our confidence up. We know we can do just as good as anybody else. It doesn't matter what gender you are.”

With files from CTV Atlantic's Ryan MacDonald