The Driver Academy Group (DAG) a consortium led by HGV training specialist HGVC, and comprising workforce solutions group Manpower and trade body Logistics UK, has again been awarded the lead role on the Government’s extended Skills Bootcamps in HGV Driving. The scheme will train and place into work thousands more HGV drivers across England over the coming year.
The HGV Skills Bootcamps are flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills. First launched in December 2021, the programme has been extended for a further 12 months until 31 March 2024.
Helping both employers and individuals
DAG has been awarded a full extension of its original contract with the Department for Education (DfE), with scope for further expansion if capacity allows. This translates to training at least a further 2,160 individuals over the next 12 months and creating almost 2,000 new drivers in the logistics sector.
With cost being the major barrier to entry into HGV Driver training, the DfE funding offers a lifeline for both individual candidates and employers dealing with budget constraints given the cost-of-living crisis.
Within the new contract, DAG will deliver 1,300 partially funded courses. These offer employers a 70% contribution to HGV driver training through the DfE funding. In addition, HGVC will deliver 860 fully funded courses, aimed at individual candidates.
DAG’s 2023/24 programme will primarily focus on the novice training pathways, helping novice drivers gain their Category C (rigid lorry) licence, a Category C+E (articulated lorry) licence or helping those with a Category C licence upgrade to a Category C + E.
Over a thousand trained so far
Since the launch of the Skills Bootcamps in HGV Driving in December 2021, the DAG has trained around 1,400 drivers. Some 1,070 trainees have now passed their practical test and are ready to drive. In addition, 535 drivers are now in jobs and a further 400 have secured interviews.
662 of these are new drivers having now gained their HGV licence, while 457 are existing HGV drivers who have gained new skills. Qualified drivers are securing starting salaries of up to £40,000.
DAG’s existing programme secured a record number of applications from women, ethnic minorities and younger people. The consortium received more than 10% of applications from female candidates, significantly more than the 1.5% of women who are HGV drivers in the UK currently.
The group also received nearly a quarter of its applications from Black, Asian, and other ethnic minority groups. Currently, just 4% of HGV drivers are from ethnically diverse backgrounds. In addition, approximately 30% of applicants were under the age of 36, a significant step forward when the average age of an HGV driver today is around 50.
James Clifford, CEO of HGVC, said: “We’re immensely proud to have been re-appointed on this hugely significant scheme. This is a major acknowledgement of our success and the positive impact that the Skills Bootcamps have had to date in getting new HGV drivers behind the wheel.
“Yet, while the immediate short-term driver shortage has abated, the long-term chronic shortage persists. As we’ve seen, thousands of people in the UK want to become lorry drivers. With further funding, we’re confident we can train even more people in the UK, close the longer-term shortfall of drivers and keep Britain moving.
“Fully qualified drivers coming through the existing scheme are ready to go straight into roles. What’s more, for employers re-considering training budgets, this is a huge opportunity to secure 70% of the funding to train new drivers or existing staff. While the economy continues to face some major challenges, this scheme really is a lifeline for the UK’s logistics industry.”
The Government-funded training is provided via nine pathways. Courses range from novice drivers looking to gain their HGV licence, to refresher courses and upgrades for current licence holders.
Companies looking to upskill existing drivers can also apply for Government funding of 70% of the scheme’s cost.
The Skills Bootcamps are part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, helping everyone gain skills for life. The scheme is funded by the Department for Education, which completed a competitive tender process to appoint training providers.
How to apply
The extended Skills Bootcamps in HGV Driving goes live on 1 April 2023. DAG’s scheme is open to any individual holding a driver’s license for over three years or businesses looking to upskill their existing staff.
The training courses are available at 60 locations across the country.
The scheme went live on April 1st and both candidates and businesses can apply at www.hgv.academy.