Hermes UK, the consumer delivery specialist, has launched an apprenticeship scheme designed to help address the national LGV driver shortage, whilst developing its own people. So far, forty-five employees have signed up to the 12-month scheme which will see them gain a Cat C licence and become a qualified LGV driver.

Under the Hermes scheme, every employee will be given 1 day off a week (or 20%) to support their studies.  The practical driving training will take place at Hermes’ Driving Academy in Nuneaton alongside additional instruction covering a range of areas such as preparing their vehicle, loading and unloading, keeping safe, the law, communication skills, problem solving and team working. Once qualified, each participant will be offered the opportunity to have an interview for an LGV driver position within the company.

Commenting on the scheme, John Walker, Transport Manager (Maidstone) at Hermes UK, said: “The latest survey from the RHA estimates there is now a shortage of more than 100,000 drivers in the UK. Our LGV apprenticeship programme is designed to help alleviate this industry wide challenge by allowing any one of our non-driving based employees to gain their Class 2 LGV licence.

“It won’t cost them a penny and they will be given paid time off during their current job for the practical and theory studying elements. The programme gives them the extra time and training to become safe and competent drivers rather than just passing a driving test. For me it’s good to hear when a driver says, ‘I’ve got a new skill for life, as Hermes has shown me the way to a career rather than a job’.”

Some of our participants:

Bianca Sofrone:

“I was born in Romania and when I first arrived in the UK I worked as a senior carer with people who had dementia and challenging behaviours. When I moved to Kent I joined Hermes as a night sorter and my role also includes driving a van out to the sub depots to deliver some parcels.

Back in March, I noticed a few posters advertising the scheme. I had always thought I would like to be a LGV driver, in fact it was my dream job, but it was something I could not afford to do at this stage in my life.  I spoke to our Transport Manager who explained that it would be a great skill to have and coming from being a sorter would mean I knew how the operations worked. Following that conversation, I applied for the LGV apprenticeship programme and was accepted.”

Roland Grainger:

“I am 36 years old and have 2 young boys.  I had previously worked within retail at Morrison’s for 18 years, doing various roles and had gained a forklift license with them. My change of career last March took me to Hermes when I started as a night loader in the warehouse, scanning parcels, unloading/loading lorries and sorting parcels.

I asked my manager at the time to put me forward to go through the internal forklift training which I passed of course with flying colours and my role now is assisting my team leader running the loading and dispatching of our lorries throughout the night shift. Early this year on the recommendation of our transport manager, I completed the shunter and banksman course which made me think about possibly driving for the company while I was shunting these vehicles during my shifts, as I enjoyed just moving them around from the yard to within the depot.

Back in March this year, I noticed a massive noticeboard announcing an LGV apprenticeship which looked like an ideal opportunity for me to not only gain an extra skill but progress within a great company.  I am really looking forward to completing the course and I am sure I can pass the LGV apprenticeship with the support of not only my manager allowing me study time during my working week but the support and encouragement shown by the driving academy team to fulfil my potential.”

Duane Mathurin:

I am in my 9th year as a Hermes employee. I started as an agency night warehouseman in Thurrock and after 6 months I was promoted to process lead (nights). I then ran the internal sub depot for 1 year before becoming a van driver. In 2015 I took the job as Inbound process supervisor in 2015 and went on to become Inbound Manager. In March 2020, just before the pandemic began, I was seconded as a DGM designate for London North. The was a challenging time having to take a leading role in Enfield, Hemel, Lakeside & Thurrock depots, but I truly learnt a lot. The area had a very successful time delivering a record amount of parcels during the pandemic. At the end of my secondment, I reverted back to Thurrock to take my current role as a transport Manager. The reason I am taking this course is I believe it will give me additional knowledge and experience required to be a successful Transport Manager.