Apprentices at CM Downton

CM Downton and Arla Foods have both launched national apprenticeship schemes to entice new workers into a sector feeling the pinch of a severe driver shortage.

Gloucestershire-based CM Downton said the company’s scheme will be a “first step” in communicating the career opportunities in the sector to jobseekers.

“Logistics can be an incredibly rewarding industry to work in,” said operations director John Downton. “And if we’re going to tackle the skills shortage we’re facing at the moment, it’s something we as an industry needs to be better at communicating.”

The business has already taken on five apprentices in the two months since launching its scheme: three apprentices joined the teams in the Gloucester, Avonmouth and Runcorn transport offices, with two HGV driver apprentices taken on in Gloucester.

Downton added: “Our business is growing and we need enthusiastic new people to help us take it forward. We’re not looking for the finished article – we just want people who are willing to put their heart and soul into their work and will take full advantage of the fantastic opportunities this apprenticeship will provide them.”

Apprentice traffic officers will work towards a Level 2 Certificate in Traffic Office through Skills for Logistics, while driving apprentices will receive their counter-balance fork-lift, truck-mounted fork-lift and LGV C+E licences at the end of their two-year contract – all of which are funded by Downton.

Meanwhile, global dairy firm Arla Foods has partnered with System Training to roll out its new apprenticeship scheme for local young people.

Apprenticeships will start this month at Arla’s Leeds, Westbury, Lockerbie, Aylesbury and Burton-upon-Trent sites.

A total of 10 opportunities are available in HGV driving roles along with a traffic clerk apprenticeship role at Arla’s HQ in Leeds.

Samantha Williams, HR business partner, Arla Foods, said: “We’re passionate about our people and eager to support young people within the communities we operate within. These logistics apprenticeships will enable us to address the looming driver skills shortage and provide career paths for the future”.