Chris Shenton of Asda has been named the Van Excellence Driver of the Year and Alex Tilley of Moy Park the Young Driver of the Year.
Both drivers were pitted against 12 other finalists in the competition to complete of a set of challenging tasks that covered all areas of their roles, including legislation, driving skills, risk assessment, and vehicle defect identification.
Shenton and Tilley excelled in each of the tests, which were held at the Bott facility in Ashby-de-la-Zouch, Leicestershire, and were rewarded with their respective trophies, a GoPro and Red-Letter Day vouchers.
Mark Cartwright, head of vans at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), which administers the Van Excellence scheme, explained: “These awards provide us the opportunity to celebrate the unsung heroes of Britain: the dedicated and highly accomplished drivers keeping businesses of all sectors trading.”
The contest was sponsored by Bott, Brigade Electronics, Hertz UK, Lex Autolease and Quartix.
Cartwright continued: “The aim of the Van Excellence scheme is to raise compliance levels across the industry, and each of the finalists has shown what can be achieved with determination and hard work.
“The very best van operators must be rewarded for their professionalism and high standards.
“We are honoured to have this platform to recognise and reward these talented individuals – they should all be very proud of their achievements.”
Shenton of Tunstall, Staffordshire, said: “To be recognised for my dedication, hard work, and constant thirst for improvement over the years is overwhelming.
“I would like to thank my fellow drivers at ASDA whose own brilliance pushes me to be the best I can.
“I would also like to thank Van Excellence for providing me with this opportunity to showcase everything I have learnt throughout my driving career.”
Tilley of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, added: “I would like to thank my colleagues at Moy Park for helping me become the driver I am today.”
Third place was presented to Luke Howarth of Alliance Healthcare and Daniel Mackenzie of Scottish Water secured second place.
Additional awards were presented to winners of particular skills tests:
- Economical driving, sponsored by Quartix: Daniel Mackenzie of Scottish Water.
- Driving style, sponsored by Hertz: Daniel Mackenzie of Scottish Water.
- Legislation test, sponsored by Bott Ltd: Lee Magri of Kelly Fleet Services.
- Pre-use defect check, sponsored by Lex Autolease: Daniel Mackenzie of Scottish Water.
- Manoeuvring, sponsored by Brigade Electronics: Lee McCafferty of Greencore
- Risk assessment, sponsored by McCarron Coates: Garry Spiller of ASDA
The shortlist features expert drivers from Asda, Alliance Healthcare, Scottish Water, Fleet Solutions by BT, Greencore, Elis, Kelly Fleet Services, Amey, G4S Cash Solutions, Moy Park Ltd and Ringtons.
Administered by FTA, the Van Excellence programme was created in 2010 to promote the safe operation of vans, represent the interests of the sector, and celebrate operators demonstrating excellent standards.
Central to the scheme is the Van Excellence Code, a set of minimum best practice standards all van operators should aspire to achieve, covering safety, efficiency and sustainability.