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Challenge TRG Group acquires Phoenix Training Services in HGV skills drive

Challenge TRG Group – the logistics recruitment and distribution company – has acquired training specialist, Phoenix Training Services, as it looks to tackle the HGV driver skills shortage in the UK.

The company, which recently rebranded from Challenge Group following the acquisition of TRG Logistics earlier this month, completed the undisclosed deal of the Birmingham-based company, taking its overall turnover to £120 million. As part of the acquisition, founder and director, Trevor Cox, will remain in the business as a non-executive director, with operations director, Simon Bladon, who worked at Staffline Recruitment for 12 years, also moving over to Challenge TRG Group.

The move signals a firm commitment by the company to address the 60,000 shortage of HGV drivers in the UK, while investing significantly in improving the skill-set of its 4,000 temporary workers and 158 permanent employees.

Tom Cropper, group CEO of Challenge TRG Group, commented: “Challenge has been working with Phoenix for over two years as our preferred training partner – for both internal colleagues and, more recently, training delivery for some of our key clients.

“The resourcing market is becoming increasingly difficult and we believe that this strategic investment provides the group with further access and control over our supply chain and an ability to provide a seamless, end-to-end solution for our clients. The intention is to overlay Phoenix’s training services across our business, with a focus on developing and engaging our workforce, whether across industrial or driving sectors.”

As part of the acquisition, the company will launch several bespoke training courses aimed at existing drivers, as well as encouraging more people to enter the industry. This includes a unique scheme to encourage those currently receiving Jobseeker’s Allowance to re-enter the workforce.

Phoenix currently offers training in customer service, administration and forklift truck driving. Following the acquisition, Challenge TRG Group will expand its classroom and e-learning proposition to include driver training, warehousing and manual handling, as well as first aid, through its Warehouse to Wheels programme.

Trevor Cox said: “After developing a strong relationship over the last couple of years, we’re delighted to be joining forces with Challenge TRG Group. The team has the same commitment and passion for investing in people, and using the latest training methods, to develop a robust workforce that ultimately provides clients with a higher quality of temporary workers.”

The deal was financed by Praetura and HSBC. Challenge Group was advised by SAS Daniels, Hill Dickinson and Grant Thornton, while TRG Logistics was advised by Gateley Plc, Grant Thornton and Boxington Corporate Finance.

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