Leading logistics and distribution company Hermes recruited the first group of employees to its new LGV driver apprenticeship programme, run in partnership with skills specialist Seetec Outsource, in the summer of 2019, and the first five of these apprentices are now fully qualified with an additional five to follow later this year.
The vital role played by delivery drivers has been thrown into sharp focus during the coronavirus pandemic. By investing in driving apprenticeships, Hermes is better able to meet increased demand.
According to the Freight Transport Association’s 2019 logistics report, 15% of lorry driver vacancies were expected to remain unfilled. There are also concerns about the ageing workforce and the impact of Brexit. Hermes adopted a proactive approach to growing its own talent because it wanted to build a workforce with the right skills to succeed.
Jenny Haynes, Learning and Development Business Partner at Hermes, explained: “Working in partnership with Seetec Outsource, we were able to fund vital training for young people coming into the logistics industry. The Covid-19 pandemic has shown just how important it is to create a talent pipeline to enable our industry to flourish and help the economic recovery.”
Nikki Bardsley, Director of Apprenticeship Operations from Seetec Outsource, added: “Helping young people to learn new skills through an apprenticeship is often a life changing experience. It allows young people to achieve their full potential and pursue a rewarding career. Investment in skills is crucial as the country responds to the social and economic challenges presented by the pandemic. Hermes is a forward-thinking company committed to empowering people to achieve. This type of apprenticeship programme could be adopted by more companies to help source new talent and support the wider national mission to tackle unemployment post-lockdown.”
Among the new recruits at Hermes’ Rugby hub was Sarah Page, who was looking for career progression after nine years driving buses and coaches.
Sarah explained that she wanted to obtain her Category C licence so she could drive commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, opening new opportunities. Hermes’ driver apprenticeship programme was ideal – it meant she could gain her licence on the job, learning about Hermes and her role while driving smaller delivery vans.
She said: “I’m very grateful to the Seetec team and Hermes for the support I’ve been given as a new employee, and for opening the door to new and exciting career opportunities.”
Five months after starting her LGV Driver Level 2 apprenticeship programme and, following a week of intensive training, Sarah gained her Category C licence and moved on to driving larger vehicles, allowing her to undertake deliveries from one depot to another.
Her Seetec Outsource apprenticeship development coach Anthony Marsden visited her monthly and she attended training workshops before the Covid-19 lockdown took effect. Hermes also funded additional training for her Category C+E licence, which she gained in February, allowing her to operate articulated vehicles or rigid vehicles towing a large trailer.
Thanks to Seetec’s e-learning platform Pivot, she was able to continue her apprenticeship learning, while also gaining functional skills qualifications in English and Maths, completing her apprenticeship in July with a distinction.
Jenny Haynes at Hermes described Sarah’s journey as “a fantastic example of the importance of utilising the apprenticeship levy to nurture and develop the next generation of talent at Hermes.”
Sarah’s apprenticeship development coach Anthony praised her desire to learn and move forward in her career: “Sarah thoroughly deserves her excellent results, she is a fine example of how commitment to learning can bring amazing rewards to individuals and their employers.”