CM Downton

Downton’s apprenticeship programmes, covering driving, administration and mechanic roles, are a key strand of the company’s recruitment strategy.

They’re particularly focused on apprentices benefiting from the support of more experienced colleagues to help develop their vocational skills.

The company has designed a programme that delivers a return as well as creating opportunities for young and female drivers and those from more diverse backgrounds. After gaining their licence, apprentices partner up with an experienced mentor to learn skills on the road and other areas specific to Downton customers, sites and operations; in the firm’s words, everyone within the Downton family has a responsibility to support the apprentices in any way they can.

There’s also significant focus on customer care and improving the public image of HGV drivers, and its pass and retention rate are an impressive 100%.

DAF Trucks

DAf Trucks

The rapid increase in complexity of modern trucks and the technology needed to keep them running means a need for highly trained individuals.

DAF recognises that apprenticeships are key to succession planning, providing a sustainable workforce and ensuring that the future of the industry remains secure.

The DAF apprenticeship programme comprises heavy vehicle, parts or commercial skills apprenticeships, with each offering work in the automotive industry to guarantee job security. It covers all college tuition fees, travel, accommodation, meal and uniform costs while attending the apprentice college, and it invests in the supply of diagnostic equipment, components and vehicles to ensure the latest technology and DAF-specific systems are available to its apprentices.

The judges were impressed with the examples of apprentices progressing into senior roles and the achievement rates, which are 20% higher than the national average.

Motus Commercials


Apprentices at DAF Trucks’ dealer Motus Commercials are recognised as one of its best assets. The company offers a three-year Level 3 heavy vehicle maintenance and repair apprenticeship, which includes residential blocks at the City of Bristol College, backed up with regular site visits from a skills coach.

Learning is consolidated with a fourth ‘improver year’, in which newly qualified technicians can get ongoing support with progress reviews.

Judges loved its ongoing engagement bonus scheme, mentor support, regional buddies and apprentice of the year award. There was also an impressive emphasis on the importance of communicating and active engagement with local schools to draw in the next generation and ignite a passion for HGVs.

The judges also commended the return on investment of more than £45,000 per apprentice on its three-year programme.



For Tesco, becoming an apprentice is as much about attitude as it is about being eligible.It wants to see a passion for learning, an interest in distribution and a willingness to learn at every opportunity.

In return, its Level 2 HGV apprenticeship promises to give candidates the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to develop an in-depth understanding of driving HGVs.

Developed in conjunction with South Essex College, it provides apprentices in distribution, customer fulfilment centres and stores with an opportunity to gain a professional qualification and become a professional driver for Tesco.

The judges were particularly impressed with the inclusion of a BTEC qualification in the carriage and delivery of goods by road and the arrangement of open days for potential trainees, who get to visit a distribution centre and talk to trainers, former apprentices, managers and full-time drivers.

XPO Logistics UK


XPO has fostered a culture of optimal performance with its bespoke apprenticeship programmes. It develops talent from within and by maximising the use of the apprenticeship levy has provided development opportunities for colleagues at all levels. XPO offers more than 30 different programmes and has over 600 apprentices in its UK operation. Loyalty is high, with 92.5% seeing a long-term future at XPO and retention rates that are more than 85%.

By offering a structured career path its apprenticeship scheme has created an influx of younger, multi-skilled workers, providing a pipeline of talent for the future. The judges commended XPO’s 60% utilisation of the levy – well above the UK and industry average – and the clear, positive impact in return on investment its apprenticeship schemes are having on the business.