As the pool of potential haulage drivers within the UK continues to shrink, JMHC Logistics is targeting accreditation for its driving academy.

The logistics operator, which works extensively with Amazon, launched seven years ago with “just a couple of drivers”, according to director Rebecca Hall.

“We now boast a fleet of 520 vehicles and driver numbers to match this – and of course these numbers climb during peaks such as Black Friday,” Ms Hall told The Loadstar.

“But the available driver pool continues to get smaller, and this problem is only being exacerbated with the increase in online shopping and a higher demand for deliveries.”

The company launched its online learning academy, HH Drive Right, with a specific focus on attracting younger potential candidates to the industry. She said the focus was on both increasing its available numbers and providing teenagers with an alternative to pub and retail work.

“Our initial focus was on getting driver standards to a strong level, and because we are nationwide this needed to be a uniform approach, hence the academy process,” she added. “Our insurance company now recognises this and so too does the Freight Transport Association, of which JMHC is a member.

“Now we are looking at getting the course accredited, so it is something our drivers can put down on their CVs.”

Ms Hall said the academy was also looking at branching out to include a customer service module within the process. Asked if she felt the effort may be wasted in the long-term with the improvement in drone technology – something Amazon has been particularly vocal on – she said “no”.

She added: “Drones will have their uses, but I do not believe they will be sufficiently capable of rendering the need for drivers and vans obsolete. They won’t be of the scale that they can handle the number of parcels while also being able to fly within city and urban areas.”

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