With National Apprenticeship Week (4- 8 March 2019) around the corner, ambitious and innovative logistics operator, Europa Worldwide Group, is celebrating the success of its Warehouse to Wheels initiative. The company has its 1Hub based at Albion Road, Dartford, where it employees 341 people, and has now launched an apprenticeship scheme for employees to become qualified drivers of large goods vehicles.
Launched last year, the initiative, which is supported by training provider Seetec, aims to tackle the well-publicised driver shortage within the industry. According to Malcolm Castle, General Manager Domestic Transport at Europa Worldwide Group, it is a situation that needs to be addressed immediately.
There is a shortfall of at least 60,000 large goods vehicle drivers in the UK. Combined with the potential loss of European drivers post-Brexit, it is predicted there could be a shortage of 150,000 drivers, posing a significant threat to the UK economy.
Designed for new and existing staff, the Warehouse to Wheels initiative includes a year-long apprenticeshipto become a qualified Class 2 LGV driver. Designed by the LGV driving industry and delivered by national training provider Seetec, the scheme plans to attract young drivers and support them to gain their LGV licence along with the necessary practical, technical and legal knowledge to succeed in the industry.
Malcolm continues: “It is important from Europa’s perspective that we offer opportunities to all staff to be able to grow with us, showing that we are committed to developing and investing in our team.”
One of the Europa apprentices, Aron Golding, 28, who previously had no experience in driving LGV Trucks, added: “This is a great new challenge and the role gives me the feeling that I am in charge of my own work load. It’s definitely something different from what I was used to doing and provides the opportunity for a new long-term career. I am thankful to the company for the opportunity to further my own career here at Europa.”
Carl Potter, HR and facilities director at Europa, said: “Driving is at the heart of what we do, and with the well-known industry driver shortage from an ‘ageing population’ and less young people entering the sector, we wanted to help create opportunities for new drivers. We believe the Europa apprenticeship scheme will help staff get involved in what is an interesting, exciting and crucial occupation, as we train them along a defined path to become fully qualified HGV drivers.”
Lauren Webb, Seetec’s Head of Employer Solutions & Strategic Partnerships, explains: “Seetec offers flexible training schedules and works closely with employers like Europa, assisting with recruitment, and taking care of licence applications, driver medicals, all theory and initial CPC training and tests, as well as practical driver training for the apprentices to gain their Cat C Licence. This is a great way to address the driver shortage.”
Mark Taylor, head of learning and development at the RHA, said: “Drivers have a whole suite of responsibilities around working time directives, security of load, weight limits maintenance and checking the vehicle, which goes way beyond being qualified to drive the vehicle. That’s why the apprenticeships are a great way to address the skills shortage, because they deliver people into the industry who are capable of doing the job.”