Palletline Logistics’ newly appointed Group Fleet Manager has championed the success of apprenticeship schemes that encourage young people into the workplace, lessening the pressure on an aging workforce. 

Sam Loader was recently promoted to Group Fleet Manager of Palletline Logistics. In his new role he is responsible vehicle purchase as well as parts procurement and tyre contracts ensuring the entire Palletline fleet runs as smoothly as possible, minimising the time a vehicle is off the road for maintenance. 

Sam is based at Tonbridge based S&S Distribution, which is wholly owned by Palletline Logistics, following the acquisition of the business by Palletline in 2015.

He initially joined the company in 2007 as a technician, working in the maintenance workshop. Just 15 months later Sam was promoted to foreman, before being further promoted to workshop manager in 2015.  

“I’m really pleased that my hard work over many years has established me as an industry leader across the entire network,” says Sam Loader. “Throughout my career I’ve been lucky enough to work with some incredible mentors and learn the skills and techniques required to be successful in this position, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to carry this forward and tutor the next generation of commercial technicians soon to enter the workforce.” 

A former apprentice, Sam values the apprenticeship experience and feels the skills learnt at those early stages of his career really set him up for success in the future.

“A full apprenticeship offers a unique perspective to the business as you see the experienced workforce gradually leave the profession either to retire or to pursue other opportunities. Coming in at a younger age gives you the opportunity to learn from your more experienced colleagues and form your own ideas about best practices in the workplace, presenting those ideas and knowledge to your superiors really makes you stand out from the rest and gives them the opportunity to recognise the young talent of a technician at the early stages.” 

S&S currently employs three technicians all of which are apprenticeship success stories. Brandon Brace and Macaulay Winn along with their supervisor Jamie Bott are now fully fledged technicians undergoing further training including a welding course and specialist training on Mercedes and DAF vehicles. Another pair of new apprentices are currently undergoing their forklift certification which Palletline are supporting them through. 

“We were pleased that Sam agreed to take up a wider supporting role across the Palletline Logistics business in 2022. His insight from working his way up the corporate ladder from the S&S workshop brings a unique fully rounded perspective to this management level position. His enthusiasm, knowledge and focus are all attributes that I have no doubt will result in him being a success”, said Paul Elson, Managing Director at Palletline Logistics. 

One of Sam Loader’s early initiatives since becoming Group Fleet Manager was an innovative contract hire maintenance scheme that saw vehicles soon to be returned at the end of their contract enter the workshop for a full vehicle maintenance health check. This ensured that all contracted vehicles were in the best condition upon their return to the manufacturer. The effect of this scheme has seen manufacturer maintenance charges more than halved.

“The current cost of living crisis is making it very difficult for businesses to confidently offer apprenticeships, however with an established workforce that is leaving the industry we are quickly approaching a time when there will be a significant skills shortage of people who can actively train the apprentices. This makes it all the more significant that both Palletline Logistics and S&S Distribution are continually offering apprenticeships to young eager technicians looking to get their foot in the door and learn from the best.” concluded Sam.