Palletline Logistics, part of the UK’s leading palletised distribution network Palletline, has welcomed four newly qualified HGV Category C+E drivers into the fold following their apprenticeship success.
Tom Collins and Tom Dixon, both 25 and based at Palletline Logistics business S&S Distribution, and Jack Clifton and Ashley Norton, based at ABE Ledbury, joined the company’s driver apprenticeship scheme, launched when the UK was in the grips of a driver shortage.
As a result of the shortage the government stepped in, introducing schemes to encourage young drivers with aspirations to join the haulage industry to get behind the wheel easier with free intensive training courses.
The twelve-month programme allowed the apprentices to learn the skills needed to work within Palletline whilst training for their C+E licences. The scheme required a big investment from Palletline Logistics, S&S and ABE to help the apprentices achieve their goals, working through various workshop-based modules to learn a range of skills.
“Prior to joining S&S Distribution, I was a windscreen fitter for five years before deciding I wanted a change,” said Tom Collins. “I wanted to go into something completely different where I could be outside and on the go all the time. The challenges this apprenticeship presented have pushed me to develop myself in areas where I was lacking and to start building relationships with customers I will be delivering to.”
In between their workshop modules, Tom and Tom worked with the S&S Distribution team to conduct deliveries in 3.5 tonne commercial vans. During this time they were able to learn the local geography surrounding the S&S depot and familiarising themselves with the correct procedures surrounding the loading and unloading of pallets from vehicles.
Whilst originally aiming for their Category C licenses the pair immediately progressed to achieve Category C+E, allowing them to drive any vehicles over 3.5 tonnes with a trailer over 750Kg. Both drivers are now licensed to drive any vehicles in Palletline Logistics’ fleet.
“Working in the business whilst training gave us a massive head start,” says Tom Dixon.
“Working and training alongside such experienced drivers allowed us to have more knowledge of the business for when we achieved our licenses. With Palletline we also have the opportunity to drive many different types of vehicles, very different from other fleets who may specialise in only one type of vehicle.”
The real workhorses in the Palletline Logistics network are the collection and delivery drivers who deliver to homes and high streets, both Tom and Tom will be gaining confidence in rigid trucks for the next 6 months before eventually moving up into the C+E vehicles.
Romas Kusneraitis, Director of S&S Distribution, said, “I’m really pleased for both Tom and Tom on their achievements. Driver apprenticeships do work and are an ideal route for people starting their career or looking for a change of direction.
“Our apprenticeships are tailored to our specific site and industry sector ensuring that when complete, new drivers can hit the ground running, having all the tools, skills and knowledge at their disposal.
“Tom Dixon and Tom Collins have tackled the apprenticeship head on and have the experience they have gained whilst they learned should put them in good stead for a rewarding driving career for the future.”
Based at the ABE depot in Ledbury, both Ashley and Jack also received forklift truck training alongside their HGV training.
“A couple of family members are lorry drivers, so I was eager to get behind the wheel as soon as I could,” said Jack. “I previously worked as a team leader at Cotswold Dairy but wanted a change so took a look at the transport industry. An apprenticeship was the most common way in so I jumped at the chance when the Palletline opportunity came up.”
“I was looking for a more exciting position that would offer me a change of scenery every day and no two days being the same,” commented Ashley. “Truck driving is completely different to what I was doing, now I get to learn on the go and open up new career opportunities that weren’t open to me before this apprenticeship.”
“It’s really exciting to see these fledgling drivers finally take to the road behind the wheel of our trucks,” says Clive Brooks, Managing Director of ABE Ledbury. “Jack and Ashley have worked so hard under difficult circumstances to get to where they are today and we couldn’t be prouder to have them represent ABE Ledbury and Palletline Logistics as a whole.”
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