NAS Recruitment Services Scotland is set to offer on-site driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) training to help combat the HGV driver shortage.
The training will help new recruits pass their Class Two or Category C entitlement, which qualifies them to drive rigid vehicles over 7.5 tonnes and up to 32 tonnes.
The intention is to add a Class One vehicle later in the year to enable drivers to move up to a full Class One licence and drive articulated vehicles.
With very few companies providing a combination of training and recruitment, NAS Scotland believes it is well placed to attract additional drivers to its books while retaining its current candidates.
NAS Scotland has been able to launch the new service thanks a £750,000 finance facility from the Scottish office of Ultimate Finance.
Richard Colwell, managing director of NAS Scotland, said: “Driving HGVs is becoming more difficult as more regulations are heaped on the industry. A European Union directive some years ago has made it compulsory for all drivers to have a CPC certification.
“Although I agree wholeheartedly with the principle, as it makes sure people have the right skills to drive heavy-duty vehicles, it is putting off a lot of people remaining as drivers because of the expense in receiving the correct training and maintaining their certification, adding further to the driver shortage. Prospective new drivers are deterred by the high cost of obtaining a licence, and it is this that NAS Scotland is seeking to counter.
“By providing Driver CPC training free of charge in-house to drivers working for us, and by offering additional training and instruction at a much-reduced rate, we can attract new drivers by helping them to develop and sustain a worthwhile career as a HGV driver."
Investment in new services such as this can be a problem within the industry as there is a great deal of pressure on cashflow. NAS Scotland provides up to 150 drivers at any one time, all of whom are paid weekly. With its customers sometimes taking upwards of 60 days to pay, a large amount of cash is needed to meet the wages before the invoices are settled.
The invoice finance facility provided by Ultimate Finance allows NAS Scotland to draw down up to 95% of the value of invoices being issued. This has enabled it to invest in a rigid lorry to train the drivers and to also maintain the CPC training programme.
Commenting on the facility, Colwell said: “We were previously with a high street lender which provided a weekly draw down facility and payroll services. However, it was inflexible and communication was poor. We always felt that we were not treated as a customer and that we were expected to fit around its procedures, rather than it adapting its procedures to the needs of our business.
“Ultimate Finance has a much more refreshing approach as it understands the business, listens to our needs and supplies a finance package which suits us, as opposed to the other way round.”
Richard Waldman, head of Ultimate Finance’s Scottish office, said: “Richard and the team at NAS Scotland have built an excellent reputation for supplying first rate drivers to major retailers and haulage companies in the UK.
“With its far-sighted approach, and additional training provisions, I am confident the business will continue to grow and become even more successful.”
Picture caption: Richard Colwell of NAS Scotland (left) with Richard Waldman of Ultimate Finance.