HGV training specialist HGVC has partnered with Youth First CIO, a London-based charity that helps young people get into work, to give disadvantaged young people the skills they need to train as HGV drivers. With HGVC, Youth First will create an ‘HGV career pathway’ within its Youth Employment Scheme (YES), initially for 15 disadvantaged young people aged 17-19 over a year.

The scheme is for those from the most disadvantaged backgrounds in Lewisham, a borough in South East London. Such people will benefit the most but often need greater support to overcome complex domestic situations and the pull of negative peer influences. Together with HGVC’s HGV driving course, the Youth Employability Scheme will provide the structure and the skills these young people need to train to become HGV drivers. The scheme will also help to plug the driver gap that is impacting businesses across the capital.

Young people do not often consider HGV driving as a career, even though HGV driver salaries typically start on around £32,000 a year, which can rise to £40,000 plus after a few years’ experience. In addition, a further barrier to getting into the industry is that HGV training courses often require trainees to already have a driving licence – something that disadvantaged youngsters often lack.

The HGV career pathway overcomes these issues by helping 17- to 19-year-olds gain a driving licence while also preparing them for the world of work. Young people will learn skills such as teamwork, punctuality, planning and creativity. This will also include CV and application preparation, interview skills and role play. Local HGV employers will host taster days and those who gain their driving licence will be offered an induction to the HGV driving training programme.

Employers who need HGV drivers can apply to HGVC and Youth First to help fund the scheme and gain potential HGV drivers upon completion. In addition, HGVC and Youth First are appealing to London-based employers who would like to support young people in Lewisham through their Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives. 

James Clifford, CEO of HGVC, said: “The average age of an HGV driver is around 50 years old. The industry often struggles to recruit and retain younger drivers. So, anything we can do to help to get younger people interested in HGV driving as a long-term career is a huge positive. The Youth Employability Scheme helps overcome a significant barrier to getting young people into the industry around the need to already have a driving license. What’s more, we’re delighted to do what we can to support a scheme which aims to help young, disadvantaged people who may come from difficult domestic environments and often face peer pressure to choose a less desirable path in life. We’d welcome any employer who’d like to support the scheme to get in touch.”

Mervyn Kaye, CEO at Youth First, said: All young people have an equal right to healthy, happy childhoods, leading to a fulfilling adult life. Our programmes give younger people based in Lewisham the skills and resilience to stick to education and prepare for working life. When the country is crying out for younger HGV drivers, our driving career pathway will help us train young people in rewarding careers while helping reduce the chance of later long-term unemployment. We hope retailers, logistics companies and local employers will help us improve Lewisham young people’s prospects by supporting them to obtain a driving license and gain practical insight into careers as an HGV driver.”