Agricultural firms are able to apply for workforce places on the government Skills Bootcamps in to train HGV drivers.
The Driver Academy Group (DAG) has a further 1,300 majority-funded places available on the scheme which will train and place into work thousands more HGV drivers across England over the coming year.
The HGV Skills Bootcamps are flexible courses lasting up to 16 weeks which give candidates to opportunity to build up sector-specific skills. First launched in December 2021, the programme has been extended for a further 12 months until 31 March 2024.
Helping agricultural firms
The farming and agricultural sector struggled during the HGV driver shortage crisis. Last year, NFU 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.”
The Department for Education (DfE) funding offers a lifeline for agricultural firms looking to train new HGV drivers. HGVC, the HGV training specialist, will lead the extension of its original contract with the DfE, with scope for further expansion if capacity allows.
With these courses, the Government will fund 70 per cent of the total cost of HGV driver training through the Skills Bootcamps scheme. Employers will fund the remaining 30 per cent of the course cost.
HGVC’s courses primarily focus on the 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
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. Those looking to recruit these drivers should apply at: www.hgv.academy. HGVC’s courses are open to any business looking to train up any employee with a driver’s license. The training courses are available at 60 locations across the country.
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 with some 535 drivers in jobs and a further 400 having secured interviews.
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.”