With four million vans and more than 300,000 HGVs on Britain’s roads, freight drivers are definitely in demand in the UK. The unsung heroes of British business, drivers ensure that industries ranging from retail to manufacturing receive the materials they need on time, on budget and without incident. To recognise the valuable contribution that freight drivers make to the UK’s economy, and acknowledge the skills of the best in the business, the Freight Transport Association FTA, the UK’s leading membership body in the sector, has launched its second annual search for its Driver of the Year 2017, sponsored by Bridgestone Tyres.
“To be a successful logistics driver you need to have a broad array of skills,” says Carlie Nowell, Head of Events at FTA. “As well as being able to manoeuvre a large vehicle safely, efficiently and cost effectively to a tight timetable on Britain’s crowded roads, successful drivers must have excellent observation and concentration, as well as an understanding of the safety procedures and the legal requirements for a heavily regulated industry. Freight drivers are an extraordinarily skilled bunch – and we are now looking for the very best of the best. Could that person be you?”
The Driver of the Year 2017 competition is open to all UK drivers from any business sector and will be judged in three vehicle contests: vans, 18 and 44 tonne trucks. And, as Carlie Nowell explains, 2017’s competition will see the introduction of three new Young Driver of the Year categories, to recognise the emerging talent within the logistics sector:
“Freight and logistics has often been seen as an older person’s career, but there are some incredible young drivers out there who are breathing new life into the industry,” she says. “They are highly skilled individuals who will take the logistics sector into the 21st century, and we are delighted to recognise their achievements as part this year’s competition.”
Matt Pickering of Samworth Brothers Supply Chain was named as FTA Driver of the Year 2016: “Winning the FTA Driver of the Year was a great achievement. It was a wonderful accolade for me, and for my employer Samworth Brothers, to be recognised for the hard work that we do to maintain the very highest standards of service for our customers. Boosting awareness of the high standards required for successful freight driving will only help to bolster perceptions of the industry as a highly skilled, competitive one to work in and attract more young people into a job that’s exciting, challenging and very fulfilling. I look forward to meeting this year’s winner!”
To enter the Driver of the Year competition, which is open to all drivers resident in the UK, please visit http://www.fta.co.uk/events/Driver-of-the-Year-2017.html. Young Driver of the Year entrants must be aged under 30 on 12 September 2017. Entries must be received by 18 July 2017.
Those shortlisted for the finals of the competition will be invited to take part in an assessment day at Mercedes-Benz, where winners and Young Drivers of the Year in each vehicle class will be named. The Young Drivers of the Year will then be invited to join FTA representatives at The Skills Show – the nation’s biggest skills and careers event for young people – in Birmingham on 18 November 2017, where the overall young driver will be named, and invited to share their story with visitors to the event, to inspire the young drivers of tomorrow. The overall Driver of the Year title will be awarded at a presentation ceremony as part of the FTA Transport Manager Conference to be held at the Ricoh Arena on 29 November 2017.