Ambitious and innovative logistics operator, Europa Worldwide Group, is celebrating the success of its Warehouse to Wheels initiative – an apprenticeship scheme for employees to become qualified LGV (large goods vehicles) drivers.
Launched last year the initiative, supported by Seetec Outsource, aims to tackle the well-known driver shortage within the industry. According to Malcolm Castle, General Manager of Domestic Transport at Europa Worldwide Group, it’s a situation that needs to be addressed immediately.
Currently there is a shortfall of at least 60,000 LGV drivers in the UK. Combined with the potential loss of European drivers post-Brexit, its predicted the shortage could increase to almost 150,000 drivers, posing a significant threat to the UK economy.
The Warehouse to Wheels initiative is designed for new and existing staff and includes a year-long apprenticeship to become a qualified Class 2 LGV driver. Designed by the LGV driving industry and delivered by Seetec, the scheme aims to attract young drivers and support them in gaining their LGV licence along with the necessary practical, technical and legal knowledge needed to succeed in the industry.
Malcolm continues: “It is important from Europa’s perspective that we offer opportunities for all staff to be able to grow with us, showing that we are committed to developing and investing in our team.”
One of Europa’s apprentices currently on the scheme, Aron Golding, 28, who had no prior experience in driving LGVs, comments: “This is a great new challenge and the role gives me the feeling that I’m 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’m thankful to the company for the opportunity to further my own career here at Europa.”
Carl Potter, HR and Facilities Director at Europa, comments: “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 Europa’s Warehouse to Wheels 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, added: “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.”