Lichfield Transport Company offers four-day week to tackle chronic shortage of truck drivers
A transport company is offering new and existing staff a four-day work week in an effort to alleviate a chronic shortage of truck drivers.
Walkers Transport, which has a base in Fradley, Lichfield, also offers apprenticeships with the aim of encouraging more people to enter the workforce.
Brexit regulations and lockdowns have forced EU nationals to return home, causing a shortage of 30,000 to 50,000 drivers across the country over the past five years.
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More recent estimates put the number at 76,000. This is one tenth of all heavy goods vehicle drivers working in the UK, causing huge success for transport companies.
Walkers Transport Group Operations Manager Scott Hobman says the new four-day weekly Walkers Balance program is a milestone in the industry.
He said, “Walkers Balance takes us away from the industry standard and emphasizes the importance of a balanced lifestyle for our employees.
“This new approach will allow drivers to spend more time with friends and family doing things they love, naturally leading to improved well-being.
“As you can imagine, this is a huge investment for the company and we need to make sure that it benefits not only the employees but also the company by improving absenteeism, morale, performance and retention.
“We are really excited about this and believe it will make a significant difference to working at Walkers Transport. “
The average age of drivers continues to increase, which has encouraged Walkers Transport to launch an apprenticeship program with the aim of attracting new recruits.
The company is doing its best to combat the chronically low number of jobs by offering aspiring drivers a route to full-time work with all the training provided.
Salary starts at £ 18,000, with the number increasing after each of the two years of training with an optional third year for additional qualifications.
Upon completion of the apprenticeship, a job offer is guaranteed to successful applicants with a starting salary of £ 28,000.
Lead Driver Trainer, John Burbeck said: “I joined Walkers as a driver with training, so I was responsible for showing people the ropes.
“This course is a great opportunity for aspiring drivers to improve their skills and learn the trade from the ground up.
“Being a part of the Walkers team is like having an open door. Everyone is so open and always offers support when needed.
“The guarantee of a job at the end of the program shows that Walkers is committed to ensuring a secure future for its employees. “
Walkers Transport was founded in 1979 and operates a fleet of vehicles from depots in Leeds, Manchester and the Midlands.
The company delivered 1.2 million pallets in 2020 and is expected to increase this number to 1.5 million pallets in 2021.
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