Driver academy programme tackling lorry driver shortage

A global logistics firm is tackling the national shortage of lorry drivers by offering young people the chance to “earn as you learn” and gain their HGV licence. CTS Logistics’ Driver Academy is paving the way for new HGV drivers to train with an initiative which helps develop a particular style of driver suited to the specialist cargo the firm delivers across the UK and Europe. The average age of an HGV driver in the UK is 57 with many expected to retire over the next five years, leaving a shortfall of more than 55,000, according to the Road Haulage Association (RHA).

The cost of HGV training and gaining a licence is between GBP4,000 and GBP5,000, but CTS, whose headquarters is in Silchester, takes on entry-level candidates each year and trains them from scratch. Trainees can become a Class 1 HGV driver in just 18 months with a mixture of classroom-based theory and on the job driving experience. Arron Young, 31, has been working for CTS Logistics for more than two years and said the Driver Academy allowed him to make the progression from van driving.

He said: “I’ve always enjoyed driving so this seemed like the natural step up. But I couldn’t have afforded the training unless I’d been through the Driver Academy. You train for your Class 2 licence first and go through medicals, learn about the vehicle and how to restrain the load, as well as going out on the road.

I’ve been to Sardinia, France, Germany and Austria.” Arron says there are a few young drivers on the road, but most are from older generations and are nearing retirement. He added: “I think this is a good opportunity for anyone looking for a career in HGV driving.

There is always going to be work out there for lorry drivers. CTS stuck with me through my training and from a financial perspective I am a lot better off.” Driver Academy applicants need to have had a full, clean, driving licence for at least 12 months, live within 30 miles of the CTS headquarters and meet the criteria to go through UK Government security vetting procedures.

Nick Collins, CTS founder and Managing Director, wrote about the in-house academy and training drivers to the highest safety standards in an article for political journal, The Parliamentary Review, earlier this year He commented: “Our ‘grow your own’ initiative helps to train HGV drivers to the highest standard so they are suitable for the specialist work which CTS undertakes. The industry is coming under more pressure as driver numbers fall so our academy is committed to bringing younger drivers into the profession.”

CTS Logistics works with government departments, the defence, civil nuclear and aerospace industries, and large commercial organisations, and carries freight by road, air and sea.

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