A national logistics training company is reminding larger UK businesses with a road transport fleet to ‘use it or lose it’ when it comes to accessing the funds they’ve paid into the government’s levy scheme. After running for 24 months, money paid into the levy by individual businesses will start to roll out of the funding pot on a month-by-month basis.
This means that levy-paying employers are already seeing their funding expire without benefit and SP Training is urging companies to use the funds to help combat the shortage of professional drivers.
The Carlisle-based company has helped many large businesses use levy funding to run professional driver programmes, creating their own bespoke drivers using the Large Goods Vehicle apprenticeship standards.
Larger companies that pay into the levy can train people of all ages to become commercial drivers and gain their truck licence – many have used that route to take on new employees or create a career pathway for current non-driving warehouse and operations staff.
The incentive is also high for small businesses which don’t pay into the levy pot, they just need to fund 5% of the apprenticehsip fees, recently reduced from 10% by the government last month.
SP Training has already operated bespoke professional driver programmes for the likes of Stobart Group and has recently started training over 100 new drivers for ASDA and Clipper Logistics, completely funded using the levy pot. Clipper integrates the programme into its Revolve scheme to help employees from other vocations become LGV drivers.
In addition to creating new, highly-skilled drivers with goods vehicle licences, the programme also allows employers to reduce agency costs, enhance continuity of customer service and deliver a long-term solution to the nationwide driver shortage.
Using its extensive experience and proven, employer-friendly model, SP Training has front-loaded much of the more critical skills, behaviour and knowledge, allowing trainees to obtain their truck licence within eight to ten weeks and becoming productive for their business.
Each programme is bespoke to the individual business needs, creating a model, high-performing driver for each company, with training modules designed in close cooperation with employers. It allows companies to recruit both internally and externally with a structured programme to fund the training of drivers through a long-term solution.
Tony Higgins, SP Training managing director, said: “There is no doubting that training new professional drivers using the funded apprenticeship programme is the most cost-effective, efficient and long-term solution to the ongoing driver shortage and many large businesses are waking up to that solution. From the end of May, levy paying companies will start to lose their funding if they don’t use it, so we’ve seen more focus on transforming the levy funding into tangible professional programmes creating new, highly-skilled drivers.”
Melanie Richmond, ASDA Logistics Services training manager, said: “Using the apprenticeship levy to create new drivers is a key strand of our long-term skills strategy. The fully-funded programme allows ASDA to grow its professional driver workforce, delivering employees with the optimum skills to complement our customer service and with aspirations for long-term career progression within the company.”
Mick Doe, Clipper Logistics transport operations director, said: “The Revolve programme was designed to provide training solutions for team members wanting to become LGV drivers from other vocations within Clipper and also external recruitment. The 13-month comprehensive programme is a mixture of on-the-job training, experience and being mentored by experienced trainers and drivers – and includes Driver CPC and Driver First Assist. Driver First Assist empowers drivers to act in an emergency scenario if confronted by an incident on the road. The first wave of Revolve candidates is now completing their qualifications, most are full-time drivers within our business, clearly demonstrating the quality of the Revolve programme.”