As National Apprenticeship Week (4-8 March) highlights the benefits apprenticeships bring to businesses and individuals, a major UK company has recruited its first large goods vehicle (LGV) driver apprentices.
With the transport industry facing a serious shortage of LGV drivers, construction materials group Breedon has decided to grow their own.
Working with employment and skills specialist Seetec, the Group booked out space at Leicester Tigers’ Welford Road stadium for an assessment centre to recruit ten driver apprentices.
The apprenticeships, designed by the LGV driving industry, will provide drivers with the practical skills and technical and customer-focused knowledge to do the job. Seetec takes care of licence applications, driver medicals, all theory and initial CPC training and tests, and practical driver training for the apprentices to gain their Cat C Licence.
Stewart Hook, Group Learning and Development Manager for Breedon, was delighted with the outcome. “We’ve been well looked-after by Seetec, they have a can-do attitude and are very responsive and well-organised.
“Seetec dealt with the advertising and the initial screening of prospective candidates and we lined up 22 people to attend the assessment centre. We took a couple of trucks along to show the candidates the sort of vehicles they would be driving.”
The day included introductions from Head of Logistics Mark Gaughan and Seetec’s Jessica Smith, a group activity, hazard perception exercise and individual competency interviews. Nine candidates were offered positions and are due to start in April.
Jessica Smith from Seetec said: “The day was very enjoyable and well thought out, we were really pleased with how it went. We’ve had positive feedback from the candidates and from Breedon.”
The apprentice drivers will be based in pairs at Breedon’s quarries in Yorkshire, Shropshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire and Gloucestershire. Stewart explained: “Some had experience as multi-drop van drivers, others were looking for a change in career direction, or for a long-term job opportunity.
“We will now be sitting down with our operational teams to plan a clear structure for the apprentices. They will be able to support each other and, by basing them at our larger sites, they will have good networking opportunities.
“As an industry we have to address the issue of driver shortages and an ageing workforce. We also need to raise awareness of the range of opportunities the mineral extraction and processing industry offers.
“There is an urgency for us to protect the future of the business and being able to use our Apprenticeship Levy has enabled us to make this investment. I’m sure we’ll be going through this process again.”
Anyone interested in launching their career in the logistics industry should contact [email protected], telephone 01702 208270. Employers interested in recruiting apprentices should contact Seetec on 0800 3891 999, email [email protected]