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FM Conway has launched an HGV driver apprenticeship scheme to help tackle the UK’s driver shortfall.

It forms part of the infrastructure services company’s wider efforts to tackle construction’s major skills gaps.

The 13-month apprenticeship is funded through the government’s apprenticeship levy. It will support new entrants into the industry as well as permitting existing employees to upskill or re-train.

FM Conway will deliver the programme in partnership with Scania and South Essex College. It will see 36 apprentices per year learning how to drive an HGV, health and safety protocols, sustainable and economical driving and vehicle specifications.

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Liz Garvey, HR director at Dartford, Kent-based FM Conway, said: “The skills shortage remains a well-documented, serious challenge for construction.  It affects all levels of our business, both on and off site.

"The shortage of drivers has the potential to seriously hamper the wider industry’s ability to get materials and equipment to site."

Garvey added: "With just 2% of drivers under the age of 25, it’s clear that the sector’s current recruitment process isn’t working.  With this new apprenticeship standard, we want to attract people who might never have considered a career in construction before or been aware of the diversity of roles it can offer."

The company believes the scheme will also help retain existing employees and provide long-term careers for them.

FM Conway’s fleet stands at more than 900 vehicles, and operates across London and the South East.

The RHA estimates the driver shortage across the whole haulage sector to be about 45,000.