Business

North East logistics firm aims to tackle HGV driver shortage

A logistics firm in the North East is hoping to tackle the national HGV driver shortage with a new partnership with a college in the region.

Newton Aycliffe’s Stiller Warehousing and Distribution has teamed up with Darlington College to give students advice on working in logistics plus a job interview at the end of the four-week course.

Stiller, which was one of the winners at last year’s North East Business Awards, is hoping to attract more drivers to help the company’s growth amid a boom in the logistics sector.

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Operations director Brian Simpson said: “We thought their course was exceptionally well thought out, and we could see the benefit of us joining up with them.

“Candidates on the course get additional training in areas such as health and safety and customer service. And it means they are far better equipped when they come to us.

“We join the course in the first week, tell them who we are and let them see and hear what it’s about from people who are actually doing the job.

“Throughout the course, the tutors will look out for people that potentially suit this type of business. Then we’ll interview them with a view to giving them a job at the end of the course. Course participants must be over 19.

“And if they do come to us, our staff certified by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents will take them through extensive on the job training. New HGV drivers after a settling in period will then have the opportunity to progress their careers with training in areas such as hazardous goods transport, forklift truck operations or business improvement NVQs.”

Stiller employs more than 160 people, including warehouse and office staff, and drivers. It said salaries in the sector are improving and it is looking for more staff.

Patrick Robinson, Darlington College’s senior engagement coordinator, said: “The partnership with Stiller is great. It allows us to offer a tangible opportunity at the end of the course and gives the students the opportunity to be interviewed for not just a role but something they could do for the rest of their working life.”

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