Joe Chan and Tony Hunter wide

Moody Logistics and Storage has described its in-house training programme as a “huge success” after its first two driver apprentices gained their Class 2 licences in less than five months.

Joe Chan (left) and Tony Hunter, both 24, are the first to graduate after the Cramlington-based firm set up its own scheme back in May to overcome lengthy delays affecting the government-backed driver apprentice programme.

Chan, who gained his licence in four months, and Hunter, who took five, are now making collections and deliveries across the North East.

The scheme has proved such a success that the family-run firm has just recruited its third driver apprentice, with a fourth planned later in the year. It launched its own programme, in conjunction with Tyneside Training Services, as an alternative to the government scheme, which could take between 12 and 18 months to produce a qualified driver.

Further delays were caused by the government’s 2021 Apprenticeship Reform Programme, as well as hold-ups in processing licence applications and test dates.

Caroline Moody, MD of Moody Logistics and Storage said: “We urgently needed to fast-track the training to address the nationwide shortage of HGV drivers and setting up our own scheme was the ideal solution.

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“We deliver the same high standard of training and skills that allows someone to pass a test within four months. This is vital at a time when we need trucks on our roads to support the UK economy.”

“Fortunately, Moody Logistics has largely avoided the crisis surrounding the nationwide shortfall of HGV drivers by planning ahead and creating its own training programme, which is proving a huge success.”

Chan, from Morpeth, previously worked in property management and fulfilled an ambition to swap his desk for the open road, whilst Hunter, from Dudley, applied through the government’s Kickstart scheme but switched to Moody’s driver apprentice scheme due to his previous experience as a delivery driver.

Chan said: “The standard of training and support provided by Moody’s driver apprenticeship programme meant that I was able to pass my Class 2 within four months, which allowed me to start earning a higher wage while making a valuable contribution to the business.”

Hunter added: “This is a fantastic opportunity and I’d like to thank Moody’s for giving me the chance to progress my career.”

Moody’s also recruited 36-year-old former transport manager and taxi driver Ray Armstrong, of Seaton Burn, who despite his lack of truck driving experience, impressed with his enthusiasm and dedication.

He arrived at Moody’s, having gained a CPC qualification and with his Class 2 test already booked in, to start his training and induction, which included making van deliveries. This experience proved invaluable, Moody's said, and allowed him to quickly gain his Class 2 licence.