Friday, March 1, 2024
4 C
Galway
HomeFarming NewsFunding for ag firms to train HGV drivers
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Funding for ag firms to train HGV drivers

The Driver Academy Group (DAG), a consortium led by HGV training specialist HGVC, and comprising workforce solutions group Manpower and trade body Logistics UK, has a further 1,300 majority-funded ‘Skills Bootcamps in HGV Driving’ places available for agricultural firms in the UK.

This follows the news that the consortium has been awarded the lead role on the government’s extended Skills Bootcamps in HGV Driving.

The scheme will train and place into work thousands more HGV drivers across England over the coming year.

The HGV Skills Bootcamps are flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills.

First launched in December 2021, the programme has been extended for a further 12 months until March 31st, 2024.

Helping agricultural firms

The farming and agricultural sector was one of the worst hit during the HGV driver shortage crisis.

- Advertisement -

Just last year, National Farmers’ Union president, Minette Batters, said more action was needed to mitigate “the crippling labour shortages and structural issues that have existed throughout the food supply chain for many months”.

As such, the Department for Education (DfE) funding offers a lifeline for agricultural firms looking to train new HGV drivers.

HGVC will lead the extension of its original contract with the DfE, with scope for further expansion if capacity allows.

This translates to training at least a further 1,300 individuals over the next 12 months, potentially creating more than a thousand new drivers for the agricultural sector.

With these courses, the government will fund 70% of the total cost of HGV driver training through the Skills Bootcamps scheme.

Employers will fund the remaining 30% of the course cost.

HGVC’s courses primarily focus on novice training, helping novice drivers gain their Category C (rigid lorry) licence, a Category C+E (articulated lorry) licence or helping those with a Category C licence upgrade to a Category C + E.

Providing ready-made drivers

For employers looking for drivers ready to get behind the wheel, HGVC is also helping to train a further 860 fully individual candidates.

These candidates will gain either their Category C or Category C+E licence once they have completed their training and passed their theory and practical test.

Employers will be able to take on the first of these new drivers towards the end of the summer.

Overall, HGVC will lead the training of at least a further 2,160 individuals over the next 12 months and creating almost 2,000 new drivers into the logistics sector.

Since the start of the initial scheme, HGVC has helped 1,070 trainees to pass their practical test and are ready to drive. Some 535 drivers are in jobs and a further 400 have secured interviews.

Clifford comments

James Clifford, CEO of HGVC, said, while the immediate HGV driver shortage has passed, many agricultural firms still need more drivers to ensure the “smooth” running of their supply chains.

This extension to the Department for Education’s Skills Bootcamps in HGV Drivers offers agricultural firms the opportunity to secure 70 per cent funded courses for their employees.

For employers re-considering training budgets, this is a “huge” opportunity to train up new drivers or existing staff.

While the economy continues to face some major challenges, this scheme really is a lifeline for the agricultural industry and keeping its supply chains moving.

How employers can apply

Agricultural firms can apply at www.hgv.academy.

HGVC’s courses are open to any business looking to train up any employee with a driver’s licence.

The training courses are available at 60 locations across the country.

- Advertisment -

Most Popular