Leicestershire logistics firm investing thousands in free training courses to tackle HGV driver shortage crisis


A forward-thinking Leicestershire logistics firm is pledging to invest tens of thousands of pounds in free training courses to help tackle the chronic shortage of HGV drivers in the UK.

Translink Express Logistics, in Narborough, has launched a scheme to offer fully-funded driver training to new and existing employees and provide a simpler route into work for younger and new-pass drivers.

Translink, a member of the Wolverhampton-based Pallet-Track network, is offering free HGV training courses to its staff from this month (July), which it will pay for at a cost of up to £2,500 per person. 

Drivers will be able to take the course during working hours and won’t have to use annual leave to complete the training. 

Translink has also struck a deal with the national HGV training school Hughes Driver Training to introduce all new-pass drivers in the Leicestershire area to the business with the aim of helping them develop their driving skills further.

The company will offer all new-pass HGV Class 2 drivers the opportunity to upgrade to HGV Class 1 within six months, for free, and is working with its insurers, Towergate, to allow it to take on younger and new-pass drivers without the usual ‘red tape’ which often obstructs this process.

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

“We put up posters advertising this opportunity and had eight per cent of our staff apply within 24 hours, which is a fantastic return and shows the potential demand for the service.

“We have also had agency drivers interested in joining us so that they can take advantage of the scheme.

“We’re really confident this project will help our business deal with the HGV driver shortage, which is now around 80,000 nationwide.

“In addition to the training, the arrangement with Towergate will help us take on younger and new-pass drivers without the huge excesses on insurance policies which previously made this an almost-impossible task. 

“This concept hasn’t been used anywhere before and we think it could help start to solve our network’s driver recruitment problems.” 

The launch of Translink’s training project comes shortly after Pallet-Track CEO Caroline Green called on all of the company’s shareholder members to write to their MPs to raise the issue.

The long-standing crisis has been compounded by the triple-whammy of Brexit, the coronavirus pandemic and a huge spike in demand for home deliveries.

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

“The scheme being introduced by Translink Express is exactly the sort of innovative, forward-thinking action needed to help us deal with this issue.”

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