New data from the Driver Academy Group has revealed that 568 trainees on its government-funded HGV Skills Bootcamps have either passed or booked their practical HGV test.

The initiative was launched last year to help tackle the driver shortage crisis and is open to candidates with a car license aged 19 and over.

The courses are available at 60 locations across the country and include helping successful trainees gain an interview with a local employer.

According to the Driver Academy Group, which launched its HGV Skills Bootcamp in December last year, almost 600 drivers on the course have either passed their practical test, gained their HGV licence or are about to take the test - this is out of almost 1,950 drivers on the scheme.

The group, which consists of HGV training specialist HGVC, recruitment firm Manpower and Logistics UK, said its course has drawn trainees from across England, attracting over 30,000 applications, since launch. It currently has 8,000 applicants on its waiting list.

The Academy said candidates have been drawn from every region of England. Top of the list is the East of England, where 94 drivers have passed or booked their practical test - 17% of the total.

The South East cohort comes a close second with 91 drivers (16%) having completed or booked onto their practical training. London is third with 87 drivers (15%).

Following on is the North West with 65 drivers, Yorkshire and Humber with 64 drivers and West Midlands coming in sixth with 60 drivers.

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Completing the cohort are East Midlands, the South West and the North East with 41, 40 and 26 drivers respectively.

Under the training scheme successful candidates gain their Category C license, C+E License, or they are upgraded from Category C to C+E.

Drivers can also train for a specialist license such as ADR or PDP, to deliver hazardous goods and fuel.

The Driver Academy Group said that many of the drivers they have trained are already in jobs or have interviews lined up with local employers, with qualified drivers securing starting salaries of up to £40,000.

James Clifford, chief executive of HGVC, said: “As we celebrate National Lorry Week, these numbers indicate a small but significant achievement for the HGV driving industry.

“Funding has been a major barrier to entry for those looking to train as HGV drivers, especially when they may not get a job at the end of their course.

“So, these government-funded Skills Bootcamps are making a big difference in helping to attract people into the industry, getting them trained and into good jobs.

“With further funding, those 8,000 people on our waiting list can help plug the HGV driver shortage and keep the UK’s supply chains moving.”