The IOC view on Widnes, a local answer to the LGV driver shortage crisis.

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Institute of Couriers chair, Carl Lomas was on the M62 road from Manchester to Liverpool, big shed logistics country, the million square foot Hermes super hub and then six hundred and fifty thousand feet of DHL/Travis Perkins shed next door, adorned with Scania tractor units. And that’s just one pair of big sheds in a run of logistics roads.

Where is the next generation of drivers coming from for those trucks?



Bacon butties, educated answers, strong employer support and a big turnout to review the challenge and sustainability.  The sector faces a growing driver shortage challenge, an ageing workforce and twelve week waiting time for LGV driving tests.

Dave Dargan, creating a local solution, welcomed guests to the launch of the all new Assist truck driver training centre. Full house of employers and guests from DVSA, RHA RTITB, award body Edexcell and CILT amongst many employers to a proper trucker’s bacon butty breakfast to open the new driver training site.


2015 news nov 19 carl lomas fergus murray tony hines david dargan steve renishaw assist widnes s

Assist Widnes truck licence centre opens - IOC chair Carl Lomas, DVSA Fergus Murray, Prof Tony Hines Manchester Met Univ, David Dargan Assist CEO, Steve Renishaw CILT NW region chair.

Dave Dargan, said,

The company is investing to provide the skilled drivers that Britain’s transport industry needs. Our new Widnes centre will provide a springboard for the enhanced delivery of our driver services to regional and national businesses / organisations. With a growing team of experts and the inclusion of additional training capacity, we are playing our part in driving up standards and addressing the national driver shortage.

Refuelled, Andy Murphy spoke about recruiting candidates, local paper advertising and the courses full. A match of workforce and workforce need. Candidates in the large yard area outside practising blind side reverse and slow speed manoeuvrability of rigids and tractor units.

Inside the employers were treated to a focus lecture by Professor Tony Hines from Manchester Met University, the prof delivered an employer message on the DVSA test pass numbers.

People and values are the importance to profitability in the sector and drive investment. As the Asian markets grow goods movement through the whole supply chain becomes more and more important. The phrase, warehouse is zero mph transport is wrong. Warehouses should be viewed as investments not cost. Your operation of transport delivers the whole supply chain, without transport goods don’t move. Same day delivery is not free and costs need managing.

The Professor reviewed the challenges against a three block, hexagonal diagram of customer focused and customer driven supply chains before reviewing the issue, ‘There is a job to be done improving pass rates & engaging female drivers into the sector. I commend Dave Dargan for opening this much needed centre and wish it a bright future.’

Andrew Hartley, detailed the centre delivery,

System Training is running a number of specially designed programmes to train people to become LGV drivers. These programmes include its ‘Warehouse to Wheels’ scheme, which aims to train more than 100 warehouse staff a year to become drivers. The new ‘Driving Ambition’ programme will also be available, opening up more opportunities for local unemployed people to re-train as part of an intensive eight week course to be ready for work as drivers.  Driver shortage is real, FTA figures, 45,000 LGV drivers needed. UK pass rate of LGV tests is only 54%. Forty six percent of employers have reported driver recruitment problems. Test availability is a big issue and we intend to solve it locally. Today opening this test centre is an investment for Assist and it’s an investment in the sector.

Andrew outlined the new BIS apprenticeship trailblazers, LGV and the evolution of courier to Express delivery with a deadline of Nov 26th. Andrew then looked at funding, two pounds of govt money for every pound of employers, the next step to LEP funding, European money.

Employers from Culina, Stobart and DHL were amongst those applauding the Widnes centre solution. The bacon butties ran out but the candidates were lined up to get in the cab and step into the driver workforce.

CILT NW region chair Simon Reynish commented,

This is great news for the NW region’s Transport sector as it will provide not just training but a full education package for drivers both young and experienced who are planning a driving career not just a job.


2015 news nov 19 tracey worth chris riley assist widnes

Professor Tracey Worth LMU with Travis Perkins Chris Riley talking Trailblazer and Express delivery.

2015 news nov 19 david dargan centre team assist widnes

Dave Dargan, Assist CEO at the centre of the Widnes team to create tomorrows LGV drivers today.
Last modified on Saturday, 21 November 2015 00:32