SP Training Welcomes Artic Licence Inclusion Within Apprenticeship Standard

SP Training is welcoming plans to include acquisition of the C+E or articulated truck licence within the apprenticeship standard.

The company has provided an array of training services to a diverse range of businesses, from owner-drivers to national groups, and says a change in the way funding is structured can help the industry by allowing more commercial drivers to be trained and enable employers to benefit even further from the levy funding.

SP Training is currently delivering professional driver programmes to employers like Asda, Clipper Logistics and Bibby Distribution under the apprenticeship standard. These operators are using the apprenticeship and their levy contributions to fully fund new drivers in the acquisition of their rigid category C licences. Alongside a range of additional skills and behaviours, this creates highly skilled and motivated new employees making the organisation more efficient and competitive.

However, the omission of funding for C+E licences has been a real hindrance to the industry and has not addressed the well-documented driver shortage. It has also meant employers have been unable to spend funds from their levy pot in the areas they are actually needed.

In some cases, employers are actually losing the levy funding into Government coffers after 24 months, having been unable to spend it – in the first two months of the levy expiring, £37 million pounds was lost.

Proposals to include the C+E licence from later this year, and increase funding for the apprenticeship to cover the additional training costs, have been hailed as a common sense approach by SP Training and fleet operators.

The majority of the industry is comprised of level 2 and below workforce, LGV drivers are the backbone of the industry and SP Training believes funding should be swayed towards that level where the actual skills shortage is.

Robin Brown, SP Training chairman, said: “It is widely accepted that the industry needs greater flexibility to extend funding to drivers of articulated trucks in a bid to ease the driver shortage and increase the uptake of apprenticeships. We’ve seen first-hand how employers have been handicapped by the current situation and welcome plans to include the C+E licence within the Apprenticeship standards.

“The financial burden of training for a C+E licence is currently a barrier for new drivers entering the industry. I’m confident that these plans will have a positive impact and help create the new drivers that both the industry and employers demand.”

Melanie Richmond, ASDA Logistics Services training manager, said: “ASDA has proactively used the apprenticeship levy to create new rigid truck drivers with the programme delivered by SP Training allowing us to grow our professional driver workforce. Being able to fully utilise our levy contributions to create new articulated truck drivers with C+E licences will benefit us even further, allowing ASDA to continue to deliver employees with the optimum skills to complement our customer service.”

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