Telford College’s sector-based work academy programme is helping a family-owned freight haulage company to provide jobs for newly qualified HGV drivers.
Chambers & Cook Freight Limited specialises in all aspects of transport, logistics and freight management, and is part of the Palletforce network, serving customers in the Birmingham postcode area.
The company began working with Telford College at the start of the year, and has already now welcomed three full-time employees – with the hope of many more to follow.
Sector-based work academies are designed to help meet employers’ immediate and future recruitment needs, providing a workforce with the skills to sustain and grow their business. There is no direct cost to the employer – as these are covered by Government funding.
Telford College has been running popular HGV Category C/Class 2 academies since April 2017, to help address the current driver shortage faced by the industry.
With no direct funding readily available to potential drivers, the programme helps those who are unemployed, ready for work, and receiving benefits, to not only gain the necessary licences but to also secure employment in the logistics sector.
Jamie Stephenson, transport manager at Chambers & Cook, said: “After our first meeting with Telford College, I decided to dip my toe in the water and start interviewing candidates they had identified.
“By mid-February we had our first full time employee start with us that had been a direct link from Telford College, very closely followed by a second, and I am delighted that a third has now just started with us.
“The benefits have been plentiful for the business; initially it took away the often lottery of recruitment, and has now changed my approach when I look to employ for the palletised delivery side of the business.
“It has also had a positive commercial impact on operations, now we have a direct link to new drivers.”
Garry Finney, the first driver to be employed through the scheme, became the fastest to pass the Telford College programme. He went from the first day in the classroom, to being fully licenced with a job offer, in just eight weeks.
Jamie added: “The commitment, attitude to work and reliability of these drivers has been superb, and they should take great credit for that. For Chambers & Cook, it has been great to be involved with them and we will actively look to continue their development within our business whilst continuing to work closely with Telford College.”
Graham Reynolds, business programme manager at Telford College, said: “Our HGV Category C/Class 2 academy consists of three weeks of classroom training, where our skilled tutors develop and grow students’ knowledge of warehousing, storage and customer service.
“We also embed all-important employability skills and cover the driving basics, in preparation for the theory test.
“Students undertake driving observations to ensure competency, to gain a Level 2 Driving Goods Vehicles qualification.
“From here, they’re booked in for theory and hazard perception tests through one of our training partners which, once completed, enables them to undertake a week of driver training to prepare for a practical test.
“If everything goes well on test day, students also receive funded CPC training to ensure road safety competency.”
Telford College is currently running these sector-based work academy programmes across the Marches and the West Midlands, with courses in Telford, Wolverhampton, Birmingham, Redditch, Worcester and Hereford.