BS Unit 2 (1)

Abbey Logistics has teamed up with British Sugar to help it launch its own “earn while you learn” Class 2 to Class 1 training programme.

Designed and managed by Abbey’s driver training team, the course will run alongside Abbey’s existing Class 2 to 1 programme.

The British Sugar training programme aims to boost driver numbers on British Sugar’s inhouse fleet which transports bulk homegrown sugar across the country.

Set to be launched later this month, the course is seeking Class 2 drivers in Norfolk, Suffolk and Nottinghamshire, who are interested in obtaining their Class 1 licence.

It offers fully paid training with a guaranteed HGV driver role on successful completion and is a mix of classroom and practical, on-the-road learning.

British Sugar said it was inspired to launch the programme after seeing the demand and success of Abbey’s own new training programme.

Abbey said that since launching its new training course earlier this year, the company has received hundreds of enquiries from Class 2 drivers, keen to make the move into Class 1 driving.

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Several drivers have already passed through Abbey’s training and successfully obtained their Class 1 licence and are now working for Abbey across the UK.

Stewart Dickson, British Sugar’s head of logistics said: “We have worked in partnership with Abbey since 2016 and faced numerous challenges which we have overcome together, and the current UK HGV driver shortage is another challenge we are facing as one team.

“We are fortunate to have Abbey’s dedicated and talented drivers supporting us across the UK and this latest development demonstrates our commitment to ensure we have a reliable and highly trained team of drivers for many years to come.

“Class 2 Drivers that successfully obtain their Class 1 Licence through this new scheme are guaranteed a full-time job on completion of the course and our goal is to increase the size of our team by approximately 20 drivers who want to stay with the business long term.”

Abbey Logistics training manager Matthew Parry said: “Thanks to the feedback we have received from drivers currently on our class 2 to class 1 programme and recent graduates, we know this is a programme that many drivers want.

“It is also a fantastic endorsement of what we have created that British Sugar wishes to support us with a dedicated scheme for their operation, and create accessible and meaningful opportunities for drivers looking for a long term career as a Class 1 driver.”

Dickson added: “It is important that we attract and support new talent entering the industry, and this package is designed to help those that may be interested but have considered the high entry costs a barrier.

“British Sugar has a proud history of apprentice and graduate programmes and this initiative is just the latest in a long list of ways we have supported people in our communities through “on-the-job” training opportunities.”