Sam Burton of Wayfair has been named Logistics UK’s Van Driver of the Year 2021 and Logistics UK’s Van Excellence Driver, a category open only to certified operators of the business group’s Van Excellence scheme.
During the assessment day, 12 shortlisted drivers from The British Shop, G4S Manchester, Alliance Healthcare, Wayfair, Alloga UK, SMS, VOW Europe, Truline and Greencore – took part in a series of theoretical and practical challenges aimed at testing their driving skills, legislative knowledge and vehicle defect identification.
Burton (pictured) said it was “amazing” to have won the title. “I love my role as a van driver and have worked tirelessly over the past year to learn and continuously improve, to ensure I uphold the high standards of the van sector,” continued Burton.
“This has been a difficult period both within the industry, and across the nation and it feels wonderful to be recognised for the work that we do.”
He added: “Wayfair’s participation in the Van Excellence scheme has allowed me to understand the good practices required of a van driver.
“It is such a well-respected scheme across industry and I am thrilled to also be awarded Logistics UK’s Van Excellence Driver title. I would like to thank my manager Rajka Vukovic-Hewitt and Wayfair for their constant encouragement and guidance, as well as Logistics UK for providing me with this platform to showcase my abilities.”
Second place was awarded to Jim Valentine of The British Shop, with Tomasz Niemiec of Greencore securing third place.
Kevin Green, marketing and communications director at Logistics UK, said: “Van drivers are the backbone of the UK economy, serving the needs of the nation continuously through online doorstop deliveries, essential utility services and the delivery of vital goods needed by schools, businesses and hospitals.
“The role of a van driver is challenging and complex; drivers must work safely and efficiently while navigating sometimes challenging road spaces and various pressures, such as time and the lifting of potentially awkward goods.
“While we are extremely proud to recognise van drivers each year, this time we are especially delighted to celebrate and raise awareness of the sector that has worked so hard to meet the needs of the nation throughout this pandemic.
“Van drivers have shown incredible determination and professionalism throughout these challenging times and Logistics UK is thrilled to celebrate these talented individuals.”
Additional awards were also presented to winners of particular skills tasks:
- Safe Driving Style, sponsored by Quartix: Tomasz Niemiec of Greencore
- Economical Driving, sponsored by Hertz: Douglas Smith of Alloga UK
- Legislative Knowledge, sponsored by Lex Autolease: Jim Valentine of The British Shop
- Manoeuvring, sponsored by Brigade Electronics: Tomasz Niemiec of Greencore
- Pre-use defect checks, sponsored by AA: Douglas Smith of Alloga UK
- Risk assessment, sponsored by TVL: Jim Valentine of The British Shop
A presentation took place on the day where winners were awarded their well-deserved trophies. Prizes included a holiday voucher, a GoPro and Amazon Vouchers.