The new urban driver apprenticeship will attract a new generation of professional drivers into the industry by offering flexible working patterns and a better work-life balance, according to skills provider Seetec.

Signed off in September and following on the heels of the HGV driver category C+E apprenticeship, the urban driver apprenticeship focuses on short-haul journeys in towns and cities that often do not require overnight routes.

Seetec Outsource, which is now delivering the qualification, said this means it should attract potential candidates who may have steered away from traditional HGV work patterns in the past.

It provides drivers with the opportunity to gain a Class 2 license for vehicles weighing between 3.5 and 32 tonnes in as little as four to six months.

Martin Sheppard, quality lead and sector specialist for HGVs at Seetec Outsource, said: “We are using education and skills to help give the HGV industry an overhaul.

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“We know that only around 20% of HGV drivers are aged between 16 to 35 years old, compared to 36% of the general working population being made up of this age group.

“We hope that by working with the Institute for Apprenticeships and listening to both employers and employees, this new apprenticeship can help address the shortages and get the HGV industry back on the road.”

Construction materials provider Breedon has already committed to the apprenticeship and it said it was perfect for its needs: “We want to develop the sustainability of our professional driver workforce, and the urban driver apprenticeship provides us with the mechanism to attract young people into a career with Breedon,” said learning and development manager Stewart Hook.

When the new apprenticeship was approved in September, Jim French, co-chair at the Trailblazer Group, which developed the plans, said there was now an urgency to get the employment and training initiative up and running: “Employers want people with a bit more experience,” French explained.

“It makes them more equipped to do the job.”