Steven Cartwright artic (1)

A driver apprentice at Moody Logistics in Cramlington has set a record by gaining his Class 1 HGV licence in just three months.

Steven Cartwright (pictured) joined Moody Logistics in-house apprenticeship programme in August and progressed so well he passed his test at the first attempt.

However, the 28-year-old was possibly able to draw on some experience, having previously been a service bus driver for Go North East.

Due to new government rules, drivers no longer have to pass a Class 2 test, covering rigid trucks, before taking a Class 1 test allowing them to drive articulated lorries.

The new rules were introduced by the DVSA last year in an effort to tackle the shortage of qualified HGV drivers and free up test slots.

Moody's said several other Class 2 drivers have signed up to the scheme to gain their Class 1 licences, which will provide the haulier with greater flexibility.

Given that handling an articulated lorry is much more complicated than smaller rigid trucks, Moody’s said it had put additional guidance and support in place for all newly qualified Class 1 drivers.

Cartwright said: “It’s great to set a record at Moody’s for passing my Class 1 in such a short time, but I did have a bit of a head start given the licencing rule changes and my previous experience driving buses!

“I’m looking forward to my new life as a trucker. Moody’s driver apprenticeship scheme has allowed me to progress my career while continuing my love of driving.”

Caroline Moody, Moody Logistics MD said: “Under the new rules someone can go straight from a car licence to taking a test to drive an articulated lorry, which is why we have introduced an extended period of assessment, training and support.

“Several of our Class 2 drivers are now preparing for their Class 1 tests and once qualified, it will give the company much greater flexibility.”