Green for go as LGV apprenticeship is launched at Modal

By Grimsby Telegraph | Posted: 23 Jan 2019

Efforts to overhaul the shortage of lorry drivers now being made at a state-of-the-art Immingham training complex have been welcomed by industry.

Grimsby Institute has launched its Large Goods Vehicle Apprenticeship at the £7 million Modal facility, where hi-tech simulators, classroom theory and real road experience will help equip a next generation of professional logistics workers. 

Alongside six industry partners, one of which it acquired last summer, the team is now gearing up to welcome the first 20 learners, with the plan to ramp up as the years roll on, providing behaviour, skills and knowledge training as part of a year-long levy-funded programme.

Hugh Callaway, group director of marketing and commercial businesses at Grimsby Institute, said: “We hope the LGV programme will be a solution to the shortage of qualified drivers in the UK and also the quality of these drivers. We have been working with a number of firms in the area, businesses ranging from very small to very large, and it has been very useful to have this group, which met on a regular basis. What we focused on a lot was quality of training. This programme equates to 460 hours of training over 12 months. It is significantly longer than the standard approach to train drivers at the moment.”

Mr Callaway addresses guests at the launch.

Masterclasses and simulator work will support extended training for licence acquisition, with Mr Callaway stating how lessons were being learnt from Finland where a two year course prepares professional drivers.

“The truck simulator forms a major part of our LGV programme,” he said, of last spring's significant addition, unveiled by Lord Prescott. “It is a fairly unique piece of kit.” 

Highlighting the vision developed over the past six years, he said it led on from curriculum analysis at Grimsby Institute. “Logistics was an area we didn’t really service but is a significant employer in the Humber region, and one we should be working with," he said. "We set about creating a centre of excellence for logistics, which is now Modal Training.”

Last summer saw Transsafe Training acquired, bringing in on-the-road support to complete the offer.

Read more: Humber could miss out on becoming a free port under 'soft' Brexit

Costing £5,000 a place, it is funded through the apprenticeship levy, or - for those not eligible - with a 90 per cent contribution from Education and Skills Funding Agency, topped up by the employer.

Grimsby Institute is offering a full recruitment and matching service, together with pre-interview candidate training and English and maths support if required. 

Lucy Ottewell-Key, executive director for workforce skills, said: “Apprenticeships have gone through a huge reform package from the government since may 2017, and they are now very much employer led. It is a job with training, it is all about gaining substantial new skills, with 20 per cent off the job training a mandatory requirement. 

“Standards are fundamentally different to old apprenticeship models. It is written by a group of employers for employers.”

Flashback to the launch of the truck simulator in May last year, with Grimsby MP Melanie Onn and Lord Prescott flanking Mr Callaway.

Highlighting the importance of the holistic package, she added: “A large goods vehicle can be a dangerous weapon on the road, so having mentoring and support is even more important when doing an apprenticeship in such an important area.”

Nationally there is a 50,000 driver shortage, with the gap anticipated to widen post-Brexit, with the ageing demographic also going against the demand. 

Read more: Immingham-import Kia clocks up one millionth sale

Attending the launch was Arnold Monk, training and quality manager for the Road Haulage Association. The industry body has been involved for the past seven months, focusing on the end point assessment.

“We can see that some one who has done 12 months with an employer will be well trained, and because the employer has a degree of ownership, the employee is much more likely to stay with the employer,” he said. 

“Coming here and seeing the volume of trucks on the motorway and the amount of logistics business here; there must be lots of opportunities for anyone who wants to join the industry.

“The industry isn’t going away. It is a growth sector; we rely on the truck to deliver something like 99 per cent of everything we have. With the exception of water, gas and electric it is everything else.”

Pelagia UK is one of the six companies helping to steer the scheme, with transport and finished product manager Mark Gray liaising with the team. 

Mike Hryckowian, general manager of the company’s Grimsby fish meal site, said: “We think this is something that will be really worthwhile and really helpful for the region. 

“We want to multi-skill people in our business, bring people in and support them, and we think this will deliver the right kind of training we need.”

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