Ray and Michael4

(From left) Michael Weightman and Ray Armstrong have both gained their Class 1 licences since switching careers to join Moody Logistics

Cramlington-based Moody Logistics and Storage is boosting its driver numbers by supporting candidates from outside the industry and with the launch of a fast track HGV driver apprenticeship programme, the company reported this week.

New recruits include a former insurance broker and a taxi driver, who are now driving 44 tonners for Moody Logistics, after gaining their Class 1 HGV licences.

The family-run firm said both candidates’ swift transition to a new career offers hope to other transport companies affected by the nationwide shortage of qualified lorry drivers.

Michael Weightman, 52, and Ray Armstrong, 36, have both gained their Class 1 licences, allowing them to drive lorries weighing up to 44 tonnes.

Weightman worked in the insurance industry for 30 years until he faced redundancy, and opted to undergo his Class 2 training prior to joining Moody Logistics. The company then supported him in progressing to his Class 1 licence.

Armstrong, a former transport manager and taxi driver, self-funded his CPC qualification and Class 2 training, arriving at Moody Logistics with his test already booked.

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The firm was impressed with his enthusiasm and commitment and started him off driving vans. Once he gained his Class 2 licence, he then funded his Class 1 training, supported with a contribution from the company.

MD Caroline Moody said: “There has been a great deal of reporting around the national shortfall in HGV drivers. Moody Logistics and Storage is bucking that trend by its willingness to recruit people with the right positive attitude from outside the industry or with limited experience and giving them the opportunity to progress their careers.

“In addition, we have also created our own driver apprentice scheme which enables apprentices to gain their Class 2 licences within four months as opposed to the 12 to 18 months it takes under the government-backed scheme.

“People of all ages and backgrounds are enthusiastic about becoming HGV drivers and see it as a relevant and rewarding profession. All that is required is an employer prepared to support their development.”

Weightman said: “Many might think it’s a huge change going from insurance broker to lorry driver, but it appealed to me. I decided to get my Class 2 licence and then applied for a job at Moody’s and thanks to their encouragement I now have my Class 1, which allows me to earn more money.”

Armstrong added: “Getting both my Class 2 and Class 1 licence has been a real achievement. I hope it shows others that, if you put your mind to it, that it’s possible to switch careers to something you enjoy doing.”