Logistics company Whistl has announced the launch of the Whistl Driver Academy to train the next generation of HGV drivers for its business.
The company said it is providing HGV apprenticeships to any one over 18 with a driving licence and offering roles to the company’s van drivers or individuals working in a warehouse whilst undergoing their HGV training.
Whistl said it is offering to pay for Class 1 training for those who already have a Class 2 licence and the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) for those who are HGV 1 Classified.
Nick Wells, chief executive officer at Whistl, said: “It is important that we invest in the next generation of HGV drivers, and we are delighted to open the Whistl Driver Academy for people who may not have considered this career choice.
“We must widen our pool of talent and easing the opportunity to work in this sector for the long term unemployed, young, or female applicants who may have been put off by the costs of training or the work life balance.
“We are a people business and the role our drivers play as ambassadors for the company is very important.”
The company said it aims to graduate 100 recruits to the Whistl Driver Academy in its first year.
The academy has been structured to appeal to new people entering the industry including long term unemployed, young, or female applicants who have not considered a career as an HGV driver due to the cost of qualifications or the work life balance, the company said.
Whistl is also offering a £1,000 signing on bonus for qualified Class 1 drivers.
The Government recently announced new measures to provide short-term relief for the haulage industry, including allowing 5,000 HGV drivers to come to the UK for three months in the run-up to Christmas.
Logistics UK and Driver Require will explore ways in which the UK can address the current HGV driver shortage crisis as part of an in-depth session at this year's Fleet & Mobility Live.
Chris Yarsley, Logistics UK’s policy manager for Wales, Midlands and South West, will give a presentation looking at some of the ways the Government is being engaged on policy to help remove some of the barriers to progress.
Yarsley said: “We’re working with the Government across multiple departments, including the Department for Transport (DfT), Department for Education (DfE) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) to look at how policy can address the driver shortage.
“This includes boosting apprenticeships and access to funding there, as well as introducing short term visas to attract European drivers to help address the shortage.
“There are even things to do with infrastructure and facilities for lorry drivers that can make the profession less appealing, so there are many areas where policy can make a difference.”
Kieran Smith, chief executive at specialist HGV driver recruitment business Driver Require, will then reveal the latest results from the company’s Think Tank report.
Driver Require has been tracking the UK’s HGV driver shortage issue for a number of years prior to the Coronavirus outbreak and then more closely to investigate the way forward due to the impact of Covid-19 on the UK haulage sector.
The previous report in May had predicted that the unprecedented events of the last 12 months would lead to a driver shortage crisis in the coming months.
Smith said: “As a supplier to the haulage sector, Driver Require had already experienced a significant increase in demand and a scarcity of quality drivers – and agency driver pay rates are escalating at a frightening pace.
“As a temporary recruiter, we are at the coalface of the crisis but it will be our clients and ultimately businesses and consumers who rely on the movement of goods across the UK who will pay the greatest price.
“We need to raise the profile of this issue, dispel common perceptions and provide industry key influencers and decision makers the opportunity to act to secure the UK’s economic recovery.”
The full agenda for Fleet & Mobility Live is now available to view and registrations are open and free to fleet decision-makers.