An apprentice truck driver, part of the initial cohort of Co-op’s all-new professional driver programme, has beaten nearly 320 drivers to be the top-performer at the company’s Castlewood distribution centre, despite acquiring his licence with SP Training just three months ago.
Heading the monthly driver performance rankings, Aron Marshall is part of Co-op’s professional driver apprenticeship programme, which sees the company proactively create its own drivers to combat the current national shortage.
Co-op’s Microlise telematics system measures drivers on performance factors such as acceleration, engine idling and harsh braking. Aron came out on top and a total of three apprentices ranked in the top-30, despite being new to the job.
A key strand of its recruitment strategy, Co-op partnered with national logistics training expert SP Training to design a comprehensive programme aimed at creating highly-skilled, model drivers displaying the behaviour and culture consistent with the Co-op business.
Providing a career path for warehouse and other staff to progress through, the programme delivers the training for drivers to acquire their truck licence and equips them with the skills and qualifications needed to perform at the highest level within the business.
SP Training’s bespoke delivery programme front-loads much of the more critical skills, behaviour and knowledge, allowing trainees to obtain their truck licence within eight to ten weeks. They quickly become productive drivers for Co-op, gaining experience by embedding their skills in the role of a professional driver.
The large goods vehicle apprenticeship standards allow companies to recruit both internally and externally with a structured programme to fund the training of drivers through a long-term solution.
Mark Sutcliffe, head of transport at Co-op, said: “Taking a proactive approach to recruitment, the professional driver programme is an integral part of Co-op’s strategy to create new distribution drivers. We wanted our new drivers to be highly-skilled and become ambassadors for Co-op, displaying the correct behaviours, knowledge and service our business expects. We have worked closely with SP Training to design a course that meets all our quality objectives and are extremely encouraged to see our apprentice drivers making an immediate impact within the business, proving just how successful the programme is.”
Tony Higgins, SP Training managing director, said: “We’ve taken the apprenticeship framework and tailored the programme to meet Co-op’s specific needs and produce high-performing drivers. The rankings show that, despite being on the road for just a few months, apprentices have the skills to perform at the highest levels within the business and are a viable option to address the ongoing national driver shortage.”