ELB Partners has committed to training up two new HGV drivers for free next year as part of a programme it set up to overcome local skills shortages.
The Croydon logistics firm is putting 22-year-old Dylan Borras and 61-year-old Steve Cairnes into the driving seat and they are expected to gain their Class 2 licences in early 2024.
Following the HGV driver shortage of 2021, the 53-year-old firm developed its own driver training programme in partnership with EP Training Services and it can now give drivers of all ages the opportunity to upskill or change careers.
It has already enabled four new drivers to qualify for their Class 2 licences this year.
Research conducted by the RHA found the average age of an HGV driver was 55, with less than 1% of the workforce aged under 25.
ELB Partners MD Peter Eason said: “We are pleased to have Dylan and Steve on the team and to be able to offer them the opportunity to gain new skills via our fully funded training scheme.
“It’s encouraging to see candidates of all ages applying for our HGV training; we had a very positive response to our most recent appeal for new drivers, which demonstrates that there is a real appetite for driver training in the local area.
“As a company, we are proud to support the industry in this way and would encourage other firms to help get the next generation of drivers on the road.”
Borras said: “I’m an experienced van driver, but I was looking to start a career and I thought it would be an interesting job.
“I enjoy driving and I like independent working, plus I know people who have been working as HGV drivers for 10 to 15 years, so it’s a secure career with good opportunities.
“I had been considering training for my licence for a couple of years, but I just didn’t have the spare money to put into it, so this opportunity is exactly what I was looking for.