Logistics group recruiting 100 staff for its HGV Driver Academy

Logistics group Whistl is recruiting staff in Bolton as part of a drive to train 100 HGV drivers in a bid to tackle the current shortage affecting the industry.

It is launching the Whistl Driver Academy to invest, train and develop the next generation of HGV drivers for its expanding business. Recruitment will focus on Bolton, Bedford and Bristol.

The company has developed a multi-level approach to training for potential HGV drivers. It is providing HGV apprenticeships to anyone over 18 with a driving licence.

It is also offering roles for those who either drive the company’s vans or are working in a warehouse while undergoing their HGV training. And the group is offering to pay for Class 1 training for those who already have a Class 2 licence.

It is offering to pay for the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) for those who are HGV 1 Classified.

The company, which operates from Logistics North Industrial Park in Bolton, is planning to graduate 100 recruits to the Whistl Driver Academy in its first year.

The academy has been structured to appeal to new people entering the industry including long term unemployed, young, or female applicants who have not considered a career as an HGV driver due to the cost of qualifications, typically £7,000, or the work-life balance.

Whistl is also offering a £1,000 signing on bonus for qualified Class 1 drivers.

The company has a fleet of more than 500 vehicles to move mail and parcels across the UK.

Chief executive, Nick Wells, said: “It is important that we invest in the next generation of HGV drivers, and we are delighted to open the Whistl Driver Academy for people who may not have considered this career choice.

“We must widen our pool of talent and easing the opportunity to work in this sector for the long term unemployed, young, or female applicants who may have been put off by the costs of training or the work life balance.

“We are a people business and the role our drivers play as ambassadors for the company is very important.”

It is estimated there is a current shortfall of 100,000 HGV drivers in the UK, due to delays in testing caused by the pandemic and the impact of Brexit on European drivers.

Food and petrol supplies have been the highest profile victims of the driver shortage.