The introduction of apprenticeship standards has been a big step forward in ensuring that apprentices can develop the professional skills necessary to do their jobs effectively. But it was really the first step towards a new, more collaborative way of working, with training providers listening to employers to understand the needs of the industry and offer flexible and responsive solutions.

The LGV Driver Learning Standard is a prime example of how this can work. When first delivered in May 2017, the new standard provided an excellent opportunity to address serious concerns within the transportation and logistics industry over significant driver shortages and aging of the population of drivers.

Drivers obtaining their Category C license to drive rigid heavy goods vehicles was a mandatory requirement of the standard. For apprentices the opportunity to get their bachelor’s degree funded was a huge draw and we saw a younger age profile among those entering as well as women joining an industry traditionally dominated by men. Others saw the opportunity for a career change.

Despite Covid-19 restrictions, Seetec Outsource has seen 57 learners complete their LGV driver apprenticeship in the past year.

However, many of the employers we work with also require their drivers to obtain a Cat C + E license, so that they can switch to semi-trailers. This has resulted in additional costs for employers, but drivers want to move forward in order to increase their income.

We decided to approach the Logistic Skills Network and the Trailblazer Group of Logistics Employers to see how we could solve this problem. Our business relationships with organizations such as the Logistics Skills Network and the Trailblazer Group of Logistics Employers have allowed us to collectively influence the necessary adjustments to the standard. This was not straightforward, as it dramatically increased the cost of delivering the learning and involved a change in the funding band. Not all employers needed their drivers to obtain a Cat C + E license.

On September 1, with the approval of IFATE (the Institute for Learning and Technical Education), we will start offering the new curriculum which includes progression to the C + E category. And a new urban delivery driver apprenticeship will be available from October, for employers who only need their drivers to obtain a category C license.

This is a great example of how we can be the voice of employers. Likewise, it illustrates how important it is for employers to engage with their training provider.

In the logistics industry, the driver shortage means that once qualified, a driver can move to a new employer offering a higher salary – who has not covered the cost of driver training. Retention is a real problem.

By incorporating the vision and values ​​of the company into learning, and by actually supporting and investing in their apprentice to develop new skills and apply them to their job, the apprentice is much more likely to commit to develop his career within this company. Introducing additional pay increases to reach important milestones during apprenticeship – and again at the end of the program – can also promote driver retention by reducing the incentive to move to a new employer where they are. may not share the vision and values, and may not be as invested in their development.

When we first start working with an employer, we spend a lot of time designing a bespoke program with them to make sure it reflects the ethics of their organization. We have seen very good retention and we believe this is due to the commitment the individual feels to the organization.

In our experience, if employers don’t engage and engage, the learner quickly senses it and either disengages themselves or moves on to another employer who shows more interest. Engagement should be evident and consistent across the organization – from their learning and development function to team leaders and senior management. It must be a culture of learning.

We are working with employers to get buy-in from line managers, so they know how to make learning on the job work. In the past, I don’t think suppliers engaged enough with employers. We constantly review and assess the quality of what we do, with regular feedback from learners and managers.

The breadth of learning available today is incredible. They have long since moved from a path into a professional trade to offering a career path to leadership and management.

To truly meet the skills and workforce needs of the country, the key is to understand what employers want and to have the flexibility to respond quickly as their needs change to ensure that apprenticeships stay relevant. to their goal.

To learn more about the LGV standard and Seetec’s transport and logistics qualifications, click on: https://www.seetecoutsource.co.uk/programme-sector/transport-and-logistics/

By Nikki Bardsley, Director of Learning and Skills Operations, Seetec Outsource

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