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Gist is offering up to £5,000 to HGV drivers joining the business from August in a bid to boost driver numbers and ensure continued deliveries to key customers, including Marks & Spencer.

New drivers joining Gist will receive a £2,000 sign-on bonus and up to three additional retention payments for continued service, amounting to a total of £5,000.

Gist, which employs over 2,000 drivers, is also offering new recruits a benefits package which includes a “generous” pension scheme, sick pay, employee discounts, and progression and development opportunities.

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The logistics firm, which specialises in the delivery of chilled, ambient and fresh foods, is also addressing the nationwide driver shortage by training new drivers through its Driver Training Programme at its training centre which will reopen in September, subject to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions. The centre features a static vehicle for training new drivers and a driver drop-in centre to support those re-training to become Class 1 HGV drivers.

Training is being undertaken by new employees through driver training apprenticeships as well as by existing Gist employees who are changing career from warehouse operative to HGV driver.

Julian Bailey, MD of Gist’s temperature controlled logistics, said: “By offering this substantial incentive, we’re hoping to entice experienced drivers who may have recently retired or moved to alternative careers back into the industry, and in the longer term, we’re hoping to encourage younger people to consider driving as an attractive career choice that offers great benefits.”