Retailer launches apprenticeship scheme
THE Co-op has committed to creating over 300 large goods vehicle (LGV) driver apprenticeship roles from next year.
Starting from January, Co-op will create 135 LGV apprenticeships on a 12-15 month programme in 2022, with a further 207 apprenticeships to be recruited to third-party haulier services at Co-op sites.
The announcement of the Co-op’s LGV apprenticeship push comes amidst ongoing supply chain issues affecting the retail sector, with hauliage trade association RHA estimating the UK has a shortage of 100,000 HGV drivers at present.
Under the Co-op’s apprenticeship schemes, recruits will carry out practical and theoretical exercises to help obtain their LGV Class 1 licence, paid for by the retailer. They will also participate in modules focused on driving regulations and customer service.
Apprentices should become fully operational drivers within three months of joining the scheme, when they will receive a pay increase from the starting salary of between £23,753.60 and £25,584 depending on the location.
Jo Whitfield, chief executive of the Co-op, said: “The transport sector needs long-term sustainable change. Through our apprenticeship programme we’ll be able to help driver recruitment by attracting new talent and make the sector more appealing to younger people.
“These apprenticeships are part of our broader apprenticeship commitment at the Co-op to improve social mobility.
“I’m pleased to see the Co-op leading the way and the last few months have only stressed the importance of drivers who are not only providing a service that is so vital for our business but for society as a whole.”
Alex Burghart, UK Government minister for skills, commented on the scheme: “It’s great to see Co-op continuing to invest in apprenticeships with the creation of 300 LGV apprentice roles.
“Apprenticeships are a superb way to launch careers or upskill in a wide range of key industries, and crucially help to plug workforce shortages by providing people with high-quality training in the skills businesses need to thrive.”