Dozens of potential drivers come forward after haulage firm offers free HGV training

A transport business said it has attracted dozens of applications after offering free training during the HGV driver crisis.

Organisations such as the Road Haulage Association estimate the UK needs 100,000 HGV drivers after Brexit forced thousands of European drivers to leave the country while Covid got in the way of around 30,000 tests for potential new drivers last year.

There are fears current shortages of food and fuel could be followed by empty shelves this Christmas, despite the Government back-tracking and offering visas for some 5,000 EU drivers.

One company, Leicestershire-based Translink Express Logistics, says it has attracted dozens of potential candidates with the offer of fully funded training.

The business has offered to invest tens of thousands of pounds in free training courses through Leicester-based Hughes Driver Training, one of the UK’s biggest HGV academies.

Translink is offering to pay the £2,500 training fee for each successful candidate, as well as their wages. It is also offering all new-pass HGV Class 2 drivers the opportunity to upgrade to HGV Class 1 within six months, for free.

Translink Express commercial director Chris Hobbis said: “There’s no upper limit to what we’re pledging here – we’re committed to investing whatever it takes to solve this problem.

“The average age of an HGV driver is 55 and we desperately need to encourage younger people of all backgrounds to come forward and look at the career development that exist is within a dynamic sector that keeps the UK’s wheels turning.”

Translink is a member of the Pallet-Track network of freight companies whose chief executive Caroline Green recently called on all of the company’s shareholder members to write to their MPs to raise the issue.

She said: “I’ve always said that collective action is the way to tackle this crisis – it is too big for one company to solve alone.

“This wider campaign and the issues that we have all seen in the headlines highlight the symbiotic relationship the sector has with everyday life that can only be solved through collaboration and bringing such a critical issue to the public attention.”

Mr Hobbis said his company is also supporting a Leicestershire-wide recruitment scheme to get more people to consider a career behind the wheel.

The Blaby District “Let’s Talk Logistics” initiative is hosting a recruitment event at Fosse Park Shopping Centre, near junction 21 of the M1 from 9am to 4pm on Tuesday, October 12.

Organisations involved include the Department of Work and Pensions, Blaby District Council, Leicestershire County Council, Central England Co-operative, Aggregate Industries, Baker’s Waste and Samworth Brothers Distribution.

The day will promote the benefits of the supply chain industry, a major employer across Leicestershire because of its geographical centre of a distribution hub in the “golden triangle” of the M1, A14, M69, M6 and A5.

Along with Translink, both the Co-op and Blaby District Council want to encourage more women and people from wider ethnic backgrounds to consider careers in logistics.

Coun Terry Richardson, leader of Blaby District Council – the local authority which includes Translink and Fosse Park, said: “We are delighted to be playing a part in this important initiative.

“We want to see local people involved in such a vital sector to the economy, and to showcase the variety of roles available.

Source: Business Live