Meachers Global Logistics has hired the first driver to have passed a pilot scheme, which aims to tackle the driver shortage with free vocational training.

The scheme was developed by a consortium of Hampshire-based hauliers, including Meachers; Harris Transport; Pentalver Transort; AFS Haulage; Steve Porter Transport and Williams Shipping, along with Job Centre Plus and Southampton City Council.

It was designed to tackle the “chronic” driver shortage in the UK, which would not only allow HGV drivers to qualify without paying the associated training costs, but also guarantee them a job at the end of it with one of the hauliers in the consortium.

An independent party distributes the new drivers among the businesses.

Matt Lindsay meachers

Matt Lindsay (pictured), 30, was hired by Meachers after passing the course, which includes a month of study at Southampton’s City College and a period of “intense driver training”, as well as on-site work experience.

Meachers’ commercial director Gary Whittle said Lindsay was one of 20 candidates selected by Job Centre Plus that had been unemployed for an extended period of time.

Whittle said the Meachers was “delighted to welcome Matt on board”, and added that the company “is always open to new ideas when it comes to recruitment and will continue to look at any original and innovative ways to ensure that we can continue to attract new drivers into the industry”.

Lindsay said: “I knew that there was a shortage of drivers in the logistics sector and the course provided me with the fantastic prospect of training for a Category C+E license.”