XPO Logistics is looking for applicants for its new Driver Excellence Academy, as well as launching a targeted recruitment campaign to increase the number of female drivers trained through the academy.

In addition to looking to boost the number of women driver it trains, the company is also looking for candidates from all backgrounds, from both within and outside the business, who want to qualify as HGV drivers.

The academy is already running at four XPO sites in Kirkby Thore in Cumbria, Leeds in West Yorkshire, Ilkeston in Derbyshire, and Dordon in North Warwickshire with 100% pass rates for some cohorts. XPO has created an Academy toolkit so that any site can implement the programme, where there is demand.

The logistics firm said the only classification needed to apply for to the academy is that the individual is aged 21 to drive a heavy goods vehicle (HGV) - although this reduces to age 18 if someone is on an apprenticeship.

Each academy trainee will work towards receiving the relevant qualification for the type of vehicle they want to drive, with the option to upskill from a Cat B to a Cat Class C (Rigid) or to a Cat CE (Artic). The company said it will be also possible to go straight from a Cat B to a Cat CE license.

The training course – built around XPO’s ‘One Best Way’ for driver training – will take place in stages, providing a comprehensive training plan with XPO Logistics’ qualified instructors supporting the journey from start to finish.

XPO’s support doesn’t stop after the driver passes their test. There is an additional four-week buddying-up process which includes follow-ups.

The company said it aims to offer “the best possible training experience not just by acquiring the license, but also by providing the confidence and good judgment that will be facilitated through ongoing support, even after the license is attained.”

Lynn Brown, XPO UK and Ireland HR vice president, said: “The investment we have made will benefit the whole logistics industry. It also underlines that XPO is an employer of choice with 2500 drivers to date in the UK and Ireland.

“The XPO Driver Excellence Academy will welcome all individuals irrespective of training and will provide a route into our industry that offers a great career choice. This initiative will help reduce the driver shortage in the UK by investing in training more people and offering them permanent roles following successful training.”

There will also be a specific push to increase the number of female drivers trained through the XPO Driver Excellence Academy via a targeted recruitment campaign.

According to the Transport Exchange Group, women are still heavily underrepresented in the road transport and logistics industry, making up only 20% of transport sector staff with 1%-3% of HGV drivers.