Pall-Ex has congratulated Kirill Sapelkin (pictured) after he became the first graduate of its Warehouse to Wheels programme.

The initiative aims to provide warehouse staff with the opportunity to progress into HGV driver roles to combat the driver shortage.

Sapelkin began his journey with the Leicestershire based logistics company in 2018 as a forklift truck driver.

Having shown skill and a willingness to learn, he was offered the opportunity to enrol in Warehouse to Wheels when it began in 2020.

He undertook training funded by Pall-Ex to become a shunter driver, responsible for the management and movement of trailers at its Ellistown hub.

Now, having passed his CPC and gained his HGV C Licence, he is qualified to drive trucks up to 44 tonnes on the public highway.

Pall-Ex said this provides him with improved career opportunities and increases his earning potential thanks to his attainment of a highly sought-after qualification.

The company added that his progress also benefits Pall-Ex, as it now has access to another HGV driver in a time when these skilled workers are in such short supply.

“The Warehouse to Wheels programme has given me a great opportunity to progress my career and I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of taking their career further," Sapelkin said.

“I’m pleased that the managers here at Pall-Ex believed in me and gave me this opportunity and I am looking forward to the next stages.”

Commented Pall-Ex operations director, Paul Pegg: “We are really proud of Kirill and his progression through the Warehouse to Wheels programme.

“Kirill has excelled in every role he has held with us here at Pall-Ex, and I have no doubts that he will continue to be an integral team member now as a driver.

“Our Warehouse to Wheels scheme is designed to support staff and help them reach their full potential, whilst helping the business develop a valuable, skilled workforce so we are really pleased to see the first graduate of many start their driving journey.”