HUNDREDS of aspiring HGV drivers can now apply for a scheme to help them train and get a job as an HGV driver, funded by the Department for Education.

The Driver Academy Group, a consortium led by HGV training specialist HGVC and comprising Manpower and Logistics UK, is offering training courses across the north west.

Qualified drivers could secure starting salaries of up to £40,000, or more for those driving dangerous goods.

The Skills Bootcamps in HGV Driving are open to anyone with a car licence aged 19 and over.

The Driver Academy Group is particularly keen on helping underrepresented groups, such as women, those from ethnic minorities, and younger drivers, to become HGV drivers.

Those finding themselves unemployed, or ex-offenders, are also encouraged to apply to become a driver.

The Driver Academy Group will train and place 2,160 candidates into HGV driving roles as part of the scheme.

James Clifford, chief executive officer of HGVC, said: “This is a huge opportunity for aspiring HGV drivers.

"Funding is a major barrier to entry for those looking to train as HGV drivers so this new funding from the Department for Education will make a big difference to get more people into the industry.

“Businesses across the north west need more drivers, and this scheme will make a notable impact on the local economy.

"We will help get people into work while supporting existing drivers to achieve more critical and higher-paid roles. Our partnership with Manpower Group and Logistics UK means we’re confident we can get people into great HGV jobs at the end of the scheme.”

David Jordan, deputy operations director at Services at Logistics UK, said: “The severe shortage of HGV drivers has had a significant impact on our industry over the past year.

"Logistics UK is proud to be part of the consortium charged with providing a solution to the issue and we look forward to adding our support and expertise to the Skills Bootcamps, alongside the experts at HGVC and Manpower, so that we can identify and train the workforce which our industry needs to keep Britain trading effectively.”

Jason Greaves, of Manpower Brand Leader UK, said: “It’s well known that the UK is facing a shortage of HGV drivers and without action the movement of goods will be severely affected.

"Logistics is currently the most in demand sector and the UK talent shortage is currently at a 15-year-high, with 77 per cent of employers in the United Kingdom having difficulty filling jobs.

"In 2019 we took steps to offer additional support to candidates going through HGV training and help prepare them for their driving career by forming the Driver Academy with HGVC.

"Since only one per cent of the sector are female, we also want to expand the talent pool to be more inclusive via our Women In Driving development pathway and other initiatives.

"We are delighted to be working in partnership with HGVC and Logistics UK to reinforce the message that we are here to support the drivers and the industry as a whole.”

The Government-funded training is provided via nine pathways. Courses range from novice drivers looking to gain their HGV licence, to refresher courses and upgrades for current licence holders.

Companies looking to upskill existing drivers can also apply for Government funding of 70 per cent of the scheme’s cost.

Consortium partners Logistics UK, the UK’s largest logistics trade body, will provide drivers with soft skills training; and workforce solutions group Manpower will support drivers in securing suitable roles within the industry.

The Skills Bootcamps are part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee, helping everyone gain skills for life.

Skills Bootcamps are flexible courses of up to 16 weeks, giving people the opportunity to build up sector-specific skills and fast-track to an interview with a local employer.

The scheme is funded by the Department for Education, which completed a competitive tender process to appoint training providers.

Candidates can apply at