Canute apprentice driver

National logistics provider Canute Group has joined forces with hardware and home goods retailer Wilko, a major customer, to launch a new driver apprenticeship scheme.

The move is in response to the growing driver shortage crisis.

The scheme, centred on Wilko depots at Nottinghamshire and South Wales, aims to give a new generation of would-be drivers the chance to overcome the rising costs of entering the industry, as well as securing a steady supply of skilled drivers for Canute.

It was developed Nicola Martin, systems and process manager on Canute’s Wilko contract, who realised the introduction of the compulsory Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) in 2014 would lead to a nationwide driver shortage and began looking for ways to mitigate the impact on Canute.

Ms Martin said: “We knew a lot of drivers would retire when the certificate came in, either because they didn’t want to go through the training or couldn’t afford it. Anticipating the potential skills gap, we saw it as a good opportunity to start attracting younger people into our industry at entry-level.”

The two companies contracted apprenticeship specialist Fleet Master to set up a framework for training drivers and took on their first two apprentices last April.

There are now six apprentices in Manton Wood and two in Magor, with the scheme is targeting the 18-13 year-old age group – the recent Driver Shortage Survey 2016 conducted by found that just 3% of the UK HGV drivers are aged between 18 and 25; while 54% are aged over 46 years.

However, 18-23 year-olds are able to benefit from full training on Category B Licences before progressing in their first year to Category C and C+E Licence for Class 2 and 1 vehicles, and becoming a fully qualified HGV driver within two years.

The apprentices also produce course work for the Quality Credit Framework (QCF), which is similar to NVQ qualifications, aiming to reach QCF Level 2 in Driving Goods Vehicles within the first year, and the Transport Freight by Road QCF within their second year – of the six apprentices in Manton Wood, two have already achieved their Class 1 (C+E) licence with a 100% pass rate, and three have attained their Class 2 (C) licence with an 80% pass rate.

The apprentices also spend time shadowing the transport manager and the health & safety and driver training departments.

Hollie Ridley (pictured above), a 23-year-old apprentice, has just completed her Class 1 and 2, and said: “The scheme is brilliant, extremely fast paced when I look back – it’s only been nine months and I already have my C & C+E licence.

“The apprenticeship advisor, the trainers and the senior management team have been unbelievably good with us as they know how it feels to be up and coming in the heavy goods industry. The sense of security and satisfaction in my job is unreal!”

Once qualified, the apprentices are given three-year employment contracts with Canute, and Ms Martin said the scheme opened up the industry to many who might not otherwise be able to afford to train for it.

“Licence acquisition is very expensive, so giving someone that opportunity and the relevant training means giving them a career for life, and it’s great to be able to make that difference to someone.

“We would be delighted if other hauliers provided these schemes; for a small investment, it’s a great return,” she said.

Comment on this article

You must be logged in to post a comment.
  • P J

    March 06, 2016 at 10:59 am

    The shortage of drivers is down to one thing-
    LOW PAY Canute and wilkos are among the the list of companies which have supressed wages to the same rate for the last ten years.
    They spend thousands on new trucks gismos and cameras but care not one whit for the driver.
    I worked one shift for wilko 9 years ago for more money than they are offering now. I would not consider applying to them for work for this reason.
    We don’t all become drivers because we want to drive round in big trucks!

  • Martin Burton

    May 26, 2017 at 12:03 pm

    Just read the article about a shortage of new young drivers entering the transport industry..they have failed to recognise why so many like myself walked out when the CPC became compulsory.

    Growing competition from East European drivers became the norm..I know because I worked as a class 1 HGV at Poundland and as agency was the only gateway into the industry I watched the Polish take all the work no matter how many mistakes or how much vehicle damage was caused.

    So like so many others of my age it was no longer an industry to make a living in.

    Why or why are the young not choosing the transport industry ?

    Firstly. It is probably the crippling financial costs of obtaining the training which is compounded by the Governmental add on costs other words the unnecessary driver CPC, which we all know is nothing more than a way of making money for the Govt ..if you are in doubt ask yourself if it has reduced the accident rate.

    Another factor for the young not choosing this career is the long hours for poor hourly wages combined with the lack of prestige..the job sucks ..if you are not a target for anyone in Authority then your own company is blowing bubbles up your Ass !

    Many of us tried warning the Captains of industry that this was coming, but it was far more important to keep those Green Backs rolling in despite the pain and division it brought our own UK drivers!