A recruitment drive in the heartland of the UK’s logistics sector proved to be a runaway success attracting hundreds of potential HGV candidates from a wide range of backgrounds to take up a career behind the wheel.
Fosse Park Shopping Centre, in Leicestershire’s ‘golden triangle’ between the M69, M6, M1 and A14, played host to the Blaby District Council Let’s Talk Logistics event on October 12.
Narborough-based Translink Express Logistics, part of the Pallet-Track network, helped spearhead the initiative along with the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), Leicestershire County Council, Central England Co-operative, Aggregates Industries, Baker’s Waste and Samworth Brothers Distribution.
”There were simply hundreds of people there from first thing in the morning until the end of the day – it was a great success,” said Translink’s commercial director Chris Hobbis.
“From our perspective, we had interest from more than 100 potential candidates, the largest proportion of which wanted to go for the full training and development package which we are funding free of charge for full time employees. We are working through that list to call back candidates that we want to interview.
“We are absolutely delighted with the response. People were queuing outside for a chance to speak to us.”
Translink worked with Blaby District Council to bring together key agencies and partners for the initiative which was also supported by South Leicestershire MP Alberto Costa.
With more than 100,000 drivers needed across the UK and shortages in other key supply chain roles, the organisations behind the campaign will be encouraging more people to come forward and, importantly, increase the diversity of the existing candidate pool.
Councillor Terry Richardson, Leader of Blaby District Council, said: “We are proud to have helped to coordinate this event. We welcomed more than 200 people from diverse backgrounds, from the unemployed to those looking for a job and lifestyle change. What was also encouraging was the high number of women who attended.”
Lee Dundee, Central England Co-operative’s distribution warehousing manager, said: “It was a great response from the public and the gender and ethnic diversity of candidates was also really encouraging – there was a real buzz around Fosse Park with representatives from all walks of life.”
Apart from paying the £2,500 training fee for each successful candidate after an initial six months employment, Translink is also offering all new-pass HGV Class 2 drivers the opportunity to upgrade to HGV Class 1 within six months, for free.
Chris added: “There’s no upper limit to what we’re pledging here – we’re committed to investing whatever it takes to solve this problem.”
Caroline Green, CEO of Pallet-Track said: “Pallet-Track members such as Translink are an integral part of their local economies and I am delighted that they have played such a key role in this successful recruitment campaign. Initiatives like this will play a critical part in addressing our UK-wide HGV driver shortage in the long term. “