Industry-leading partnership provides job opportunities
Newly qualified heavy goods vehicle (HGV) drivers are being offered highly sought-after industry experience thanks to a leading partnership between Branston, Inspire Education Group, Lincoln College and the Road Haulage Association (RHA).
Despite a shortfall of 60,000 HGV drivers in the industry in 2020, many newly qualified drivers are struggling to get permanent roles due to most positions requiring two years' experience. Because of this, Branston has joined forces with the RHA to provide further training and on-the-job experience, following the fully funded Drive 2 Work initiative offered by the colleges.
Lindsay Burrows, driver trainer at Branston, said: “We’re offering a six-month probation programme whereby every student that passes the training courses at Lincoln and Stamford colleges will get the opportunity to apply to join Branston as a driver. Here, we will provide further training and industry experience, equipping them for a role in the industry.
“In the last four months we’ve already taken on five drivers from Lincoln College and are open to welcoming more than twenty in the next year from across both colleges.”
With Net Zero a priority across many industries, traditional careers such as HGV driving are changing with a growing need to adapt to more environmentally-friendly ways of operating.
“We’ve already seen the benefit of onboarding newly qualified drivers as they make up for a lack in experience with greener driving practices. By working with drivers at the start of their careers we can ensure they adopt best practices and are future-proofed against the changing requirements for EVs. Our five newest recruits are the top five on the leaderboard across the business for driving quality – including being judged on fuel efficiency, which is now part of the passing criteria for the HGV test.”
Gavin Parker, jobshop co-ordinator at Inspire Education Group, said: “We’re already seeing an increased uptake in our course, thanks to the onward opportunities this partnership provides, with upwards of 200 people attending our recruitment days for the course now. We want to be able to support people in kickstarting their careers and plugging the skills gap, and this scheme allows us to do just that.”
Branston attended the recent recruitment day at Stamford College and took along its new fully electric Volvo FM Electric 4x2 truck to show students what the future of HGV driving could look like.
Paul Benns, training development manager at RHA, said: “Working in partnership with the colleges and leading businesses like Branston has allowed us to break the cycle with the shortfall of HGV drivers. We developed the Drive 2 Work initiative with the colleges to attract more drivers to the training, but low employability rates were making it less attractive. Being able to add Branston to this partnership is the missing piece – offering a viable onward progression for those finishing their course.”
Image: Gavin Parker, Inspire Education Group, Jason Bullimore & Lindsay Burrows, Branston, Karen Stones & Gemma Bush Lincoln College, Paul Benns RHA