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How to Get Your Foot on the Logistics Career Ladder

The thought of a career change is a prospect which is exhilarating and daunting in equal measure. The endless opportunities and the chance to completely change your day to day activities is an incredibly exciting thought, but then the question must be asked: how do I even start a new career?

For those thinking about switching lanes (pun very much intended) and making the move into a career as a professional driver, we have a simple message: you’ll be choosing a rewarding career, and help is out there to make this a reality.

Now, as a professional driving recruitment firm, of course we’ll say it’s a rewarding career – but here’s why. Working in the logistics and transport sector can mean flexible hours – ideal for those looking to start a family. The industry is one where you’re always supported by a dedicated team and build strong relationships, but the ability to travel the country has a sense of autonomy. Then there’s the salary benefits – the supply chain is an industry the country simply cannot function without, and of course a career in logistics can lead to opportunities in management and running your own fleet.

The first thing to consider when thinking about becoming a professional driver is whether you have the characteristics to suit the work. You must enjoy driving, employ patience, possess a strong knowledge and respect of road safety, enjoy your own company, display strong self-motivation and be in good physical condition.

There’s more to the job than sitting behind the wheel though, you’ll likely plan delivery schedules and routes with transport managers, monitor traffic reports to make sure your routes are clear, as well as carrying out general maintenance checks on your vehicle before and after journeys.

To become a professional driver, youmust be 18 years old or over and hold a full car driving license.  The next stage would be to find a reputable local LGV learner driver training provider, take & pass your test and then receive CPC Training, here at Drivers Direct we’re a JAUPT accredited CPC Training Centre – as we said, the help is here.  We offer training to our own drivers on behalf of our clients, as well as in-house training for prestigious transport companies.  Via our website, we also offer a free digital tachograph simulator download which includes interactive tutorials which will take you through the different types of tacho machines.

In terms of working hours, they could vary but in a permanent position you can be expected to work up to 42 hours a week and overtime may be available, but the laws are strict (for good reason) on the number of hours spent driving and working in between rest breaks to ensure the safety of all road users.

We have a wide network of branches throughout the UK, offering vacancies for all classes of driver, you can view the positions here.  We operate within a wide range of sectors including postal, food production, DIY, building trade, general haulage and clothing distribution.  If you’re looking to hit certain requirements, as a customer of Drivers Direct, we can help you do that – why not get in touch and see what we can offer to your business to reach its goals?

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Drivers Direct on Employee Appreciation

Drivers Direct on Employee Appreciation

Last week was Employee Appreciation Day and it got us thinking about our fantastic Drivers Direct employees.  Employee Appreciation Day is all about rewarding, recognising and appreciating the work that employees do.  Here at Drivers Direct we believe this is important as the staff across our branches are all ambassadors of the business.

 

When we formed in 2002, our ambition was to open 5 branches and here we are in 2018 with 22 branches and set to open 3 more this year.  Even though we’ve grown, we still strive to offer the flexibility, innovation and personal touch of a small company; and employing the right people is vital for achieving this.  This hasn’t gone unnoticed by Rob Hicks, one of our Regional Sales Managers who feels his work is appreciated; “I feel my work is always appreciated and rewarded.  For example, I’ve been taken away to France for a weekend golf trip in the past and received gifts from my Ops Director for carrying out tasks outside my remit.”

 

Every summer we hold an annual ball giving our employees recognition for their service, commitment and achievements within the business.  It’s also a great opportunity for our teams to let their hair down and have a fun evening with their colleagues, outside of the working environment.  Last year, Luke Davies the branch manager of our Cardiff office won a trip to New York after the branch was awarded for being the most successful of the year.  Other awards include, trips to London and Paris, or long-service awards for those who have been with us for 5 years.

 

Ryan Roberts, the Regional Sales Manager for Wolverhampton has worked with us for just over 4 years and adds, “Every year we look forward to our annual ball, we have a night out with our colleagues whilst raising money for well-deserved charities at the same time.”

Commenting on the annual ball Vicky Hinks, Administration Manager at Head Office adds; “It is a chance to meet the other branches and put names to faces, for me this is a great opportunity as working in Head Office I support all of our branches on a daily basis.  It allows relationships to be formed which assists in the smooth running of the business.”

 

To further show our appreciation for our staff, prizes are given to a ‘Consultant of the Month’ in each Region and there’s an annual visit to the London Comedy Store for senior managers.  Employee benefits also include vouchers and we also have a policy for promoting within to encourage development at the company.

 

Our culture here at Drivers Direct has been labelled as unique, honest, open and fair, and we strive for this consistently throughout our branches.  We also understand that our employers are the key to our success and that’s why we work hard to recognise and rewards their efforts as a way of showing our appreciation for that they do.

 

If you’d like to work with us, you can see all of your job listings on our website.

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2017 - A Year In Review

2017 – A Year In Review

It’s December already and we can’t quite believe where the time has gone as we edge into the New Year.  We’ve been reflecting on this past year at Drivers Direct, thinking about our success and the achievements of our team.

In February, we became members of the Association of Recruitment Consultancies (ARC) – following our MD Gethin Roberts’ attendance at an ARC presentation.  We found that our objectives and values ran parallel to ARC which was a deciding factor for joining, as well as the association covering issues that really matter to those working in the recruitment sector.

May saw us through to the finals at the Global Recruiter Awards in the Best Use of Social Media Category for our anti-drink driving campaign; where we used striking posters to show the devastating effects of drinking and driving.  It was fantastic to have been nominated for the category and a great day was had by all at the Café de Paris in June.

We had our successful annual black tie ball for our employees back in May, showing recognition to the branches whose hard work has really shone through over this past year.  The Doncaster office was named as one of the most successful branches with their manager, Jason Hardisty winning a trip to London.  Kaylie Parker at the Eastleigh branch won a trip to Paris following their win of the ‘Highest Margin’ title.

After providing Drivers Direct with 5 top quality years of service, Christopher Unsworth of the Leyland branch, David Dawson of the Sheffield branch and Maxine Mew of the Sutton branch were each given the ‘Five Year’ award – a well deserved nomination.  As the most top performing franchise, Manchester won ‘Franchise of the Year’, as well as a cheque for £1,500.  Scooping one of the top awards, Nana Bempong was dubbed ‘Employee of the Year’ as he was the most successful employee out of all the branches – quite the accolade!  As the Cardiff office was recognised as the most successful branch of all, manager Luke Davies, won himself the coveted trip to New York.

After creating a shortlist of charities to support at our annual ball, our staff chose the Victory Services Club which is a great cause which offers respite and welfare breaks, rewards and recognition along with a free membership for serving Armed Forces.  Everyone who attended our annual ball made a donation and in September we presented our donation to the club, having raised £250,000 for the charity – an achievement we’re incredibly proud of.  We hope with our donation further enables the club to give the best possible experience to those serving in the military, past and present.

All in all, it has been a great year for Drivers Direct. What’s on the cards for 2018? We’ll be opening 3 more branches, as well as setting our sights on moving to a bigger HQ as we look to further expand the business.

From all of us here at Drivers Direct, we hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

 

 

 

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NEW SERVICES DRIVE GROWTH FOR DRIVERS DIRECT

Drivers Direct, one of the UK’s leading providers of temporary and permanent drivers to commercial organisations, has reported an 8% increase in its turnover to £21.95million for the year ended 31 March 2016.  The company’s profits remain in line with the increase in sales.

The positive results come after a strong performance from the company’s new logistics division as well as the maturing of the six branches it opened last year.  The logistics division has also reported that it now has more than 42 vans and trucks on the road every day and that the recruitment business provides more than 1,200 drivers to client businesses each week.

Gethin Roberts, managing director of Drivers Direct, comments: “The investments that we have made in new offices, staff and equipment have paid dividends and allowed us to grow to meet the strong demand we are experiencing for our people and services.

“We have hit the ground running again this year and made a very positive start with the high demand for drivers continuing.  We anticipate that this will continue as we head towards Christmas and we are well placed to build on this market leading position in the coming years.”

Established in 2002, Drivers Direct covers all driver classes, from chauffeurs and fork lift driver’s right through to LGV Class 1 and 2 drivers, supplies more than 1200 drivers a week to clients from across the public and private sectors.  The company currently has a network of 21 branches across the UK.

 

 

 

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An Evening of Glitz and Glamour for Drivers Direct

It’s that time of year again; the red carpets are rolled out, the tables are adorned with the finest bottles of bubbly and we get out our best outfits. The night of glamour we’re talking about is, of course, the famous Drivers Direct Annual Dinner, held in celebration of the company’s accomplishments of the past year – and what a year it has been!

In the last twelve months, we’ve successfully launched and ran a logistics division, increased the number of commercial vehicles in our fleet, provided more shifts, opened new premises in three major cities. We also received recognition as a corporate member of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport and have made a number of appearances at leading industry events, including Truckfest.

Of course all of these achievements would not have been possible without the hard work from each and every one of our dedicated employees. Naturally, there was only one way forward; to celebrate in style whilst raising money for a fantastic cause.

On Saturday 9th July, for the fourteenth year running, we hosted our prestigious company dinner. Taking place in the ball room of the impressive Victory Service Club near to the exquisite Marble Arch in London, 162 members of the Drivers Direct team met for an evening of live music, incredible food and exceptional company.

During the evening, in an effort to show the company’s appreciation for its staff, awards were presented for six categories: League Division 1, 2 and 3, Highest Margin Branch, Franchise of the Year and Employee of the Year, as well as a long-service award to those who have remained a part of the team for a significant amount of time.

We’re proud to announce that the following employees and branches were crowned winners (drum roll please!):

Employee of the Year: Matt Rogers from our Crewe Branch

Highest Gross Profit: Crew Branch

League One Winners: Sheffield Branch (branch manager David Dawson won a long weekend in New York).

League Two Winners: Cardiff Branch (branch manager Claire Osborne won a long weekend in Paris)

League Three Winners: Liverpool Branch (branch manager Emma Hughes won a long weekend in London).

Franchise of the Year: Northampton (franchisees: John and Bev Major)

In addition, Helen Walker from our Crewe branch and Vicky Meaden from the headquarters in Runcorn received the two long service awards after dedicating five years to the company and received a Mont Blanc pen and a certificate of recognition.

Finally, a special award was presented to Bill Tirebuck, a founding partner of Drivers Direct, who will sadly be retiring at the end of this month.

Not only were we able to celebrate yet another successful year for the company, but during the evening we also seized the opportunity to raise money for a fantastic charitable cause, and this year, donations were made to Cancer Research UK. We’re pleased to announce that the kind donations of everyone in attendance resulted in £1,200 being raised on the night, however, we will double this to donate a total of £2,400 to a wonderful cause.

Once again, we would like to say congratulations to all who took home an award. Whilst we were only able to present six awards, we recognise that every team member has been exceptional in their work ethic and has contributed to the success we have experienced over the past year. At Drivers Direct, we cannot wait to see what the next year has in store for us, which will of course be celebrated at the next annual dinner!

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The Complete Package

There’s no denying that business is booming as more and more clients turn to Drivers Direct when looking to bolster their business with qualified and professional drivers.  However, with more than 1000 drivers now on the road every week, clients were increasingly asking us whether we could offer the complete package and also provide them with vehicles.

With this in mind last year we launched our new logistics division. It was a key step towards providing our customers with an offer that not only includes access to qualified drivers but a complete logistics package that includes people, vehicles and logistics management.

Headquartered in Royton, near Oldham, the logistics division is positioned perfectly for excellent access to the northern motorway network and, with the ideal infrastructure and technology in place, the team is well placed to meet and exceed required service levels.

Although initially offering access to more than twenty commercial vehicles, in less than six months after launching we’ve needed to add to the fleet to cope with the growing demand. Nine brand new trucks have been delivered to the office, much to the delight of our regular drivers who get to take them out on the road. Renault was selected as our supplier of choice due to their vehicle range and commitment to meet our requirements.

The logistics division’s success has largely been down to the team running the operations as it is full of experienced, qualified professionals. The team understands what required of them, the importance of client deadlines and how to deliver the most cost effective logistics solutions available.

With the right people and continued client demand, we’re confident that our logistics division will continue to go from strength to strength.  We’re proud to say that from the inception of Drivers Direct, through to our recent expansion, it’s a pleasure to work within the sector, particularly now we can offer the complete package.

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STAY SAFE WHATEVER THE WEATHER

There’s no denying it, this winter has been one of the wettest and warmest on record as the Met Office advises that the last few months have seen record rainfall and temperatures more often associated with the British summertime.

As wet weather can cause some of the most hazardous driving conditions, we thought we would share some useful tips and hints to help you through these uncharacteristically wet conditions.

To begin, plan your journey in advance and take care to avoid areas which are prone to flooding and factor in extra time to allow for slower speeds and potential congestion.  It’s important to ensure your vehicle is also prepared by checking windscreen wiper blades are fully functional and that you have sufficient fuel, as using lights and heaters or being caught in traffic can use more fuel than driving in normal conditions.

While on the road, use dipped headlights so that other drivers can see you more easily.  Be careful not to use rear fog lights as this can mask your brake lights or dazzle drivers behind you.  Perhaps most importantly, reduce your speed and leave more space between you and the vehicle in front to account for greater stopping distances – remember to double the two-second rule as ‘only a fool breaks the two second rule’.

Watch out for spray from other large or fast moving vehicles and remember that driving fast through standing water could lead to tyres losing contact with the road.  If this happens, do not brake but ease off the accelerator and allow your speed to reduce until you gain full control of the steering again.

Driving fast through deep water or flooded areas can also cause serious damage and be expensive to repair, so don’t attempt to drive through water unless you are sure of the depth – the edge of the kerb is a good indicator.  Motoring organisations also advise to never attempt to drive through fast flowing water as vehicles can easily get swept away and remember to test your brakes after leaving any water.

As we head in to February, we may yet see the more typical freezing or snowy conditions return.  If that’s the case, check all windows, lights and number plates are clear, so you can both see and be seen.

Do keep a watch out for icy conditions as clear winter skies can quickly leave areas frozen, particularly if the road surface is wet.  Good indicators of ice on the roads can be frozen windscreens or pavements. In icy conditions remember to accelerate and brake gently to avoid skidding.

When driving in such wintery conditions, use a higher gear than normal as it helps reduce wheel spin on slippery surfaces and move off gently to avoid spinning the wheels.  As with wet weather conditions, leave extra space between you and other vehicles and take even more care at junctions where road markings may not be visible or snow compacted.

By following these simple measures, and taking extra care of yourself and vehicle during these wet and wintery conditions, we hope that you stay safe whatever the weather.

 

 

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Driving In The Dark

There’s no doubt that driving at night is more dangerous. A Department for Transport study revealed that although only 15 per cent of vehicle miles are clocked between 7pm and 7am, they account for almost a third of road injuries and deaths.

The main reason for an increase in traffic accidents is due to reduced visibility and difficulty judging speed and distance. So as the clocks go back and the dark nights draw in, below are a few handy tips for driving at night.

Sight is seeing. It’s vital to get your sight checked regularly as this will highlight any underlying problems such as glaucoma, as this can affect your night vision. Also, never wear dark or tinted lenses for night driving.

Lighten up. The Institute of Advanced Motorists advises motorists to keep headlights on after sunrise and turning them on for an hour before sunset so it’s easier for motorists to see you during twilight. Make sure all exterior lights are clean and working properly and only use interior lights when stationary.

Don’t dazzle. When driving on rural roads, full beams are useful to see into the distance, but make sure to dip the headlights when facing on-coming traffic as this can dazzle other drivers.

Keep a steady speed. Avoid dropping speed rapidly when approaching on-coming traffic and then speeding up again once you’ve passed. This can be confusing for motorists travelling behind you.

Stay clean. Make sure your windows are clean inside and out as dirty windows will increase the glare from other vehicles and are more prone to steaming up.

Be prepared and read the road ahead for signs of on-coming traffic. Glimmers of lights at the top of hills could be other road users, so anticipate your lights may need to be dipped soon. Ensure to read all the road signs and be more alert when travelling through pedestrian zones, as people and cyclists can be harder to spot, especially if they are not wearing reflective clothing.

Finally, take your breaks. It’s always essential to take regular breaks when driving long distances, but this is even more vital when you’re driving in darkness. It’s important to stop for a rest and keep yourself alert and legal.

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Congestion In The UK…

Earlier this month the UK climbed one place to become the fifth most congested country in Europe, with the average driver spending 30 hours in congestion every year. The increase in traffic on roads has now been directly linked to how well UK PLC is performing.

Last year the UK economy grew by 2.8%, which was faster than any other major developed European country and double the European average. Also, due to the economy recovering, levels of unemployment also decreased last year by 21%.

The increase in consumer spending has led to a rise in private and commercial vehicles as well as more people commuting to work by car. This combined with a spurring of national road works and construction campaigns has led to a growth in congestion.

Furthermore, population growth and urbanisation are key drivers to an increase in congestions and last year the UK’s population grew by 491,100, reaching a record high. London was one of the worst affected areas, with residents being stuck in traffic for an average of 96 hours – that’s the equivalent to nine working days stuck in traffic!

The A217, a 10 mile stretch of road in London, was named the busiest road for congestion, however, congestion as a whole increased in 77% of the UK’s cities with Manchester closely following London for the worst traffic in the UK.

Garrett Emmerson, TFL (Transport for London) London’s Chief Operations Office commented on the congestion within London and stated: “We are seeing unprecedented increases in population and this, combined with strong economic growth creates more traffic. That’s why we invest every penny in improving the capital’s transport network, including an unprecedented £4 billion pounds over the next few years to transform junctions, bridges, tunnels, cycling lanes and pedestrian areas.”

Other authorities have announced they will trial stricter traffic control measures in a bid to tackle congestion as well as lower air pollution in the UK’s most congested cities.

Recognising the UK has a congestion problem can only be a good thing, especially when authorities are taking measure to rectify the situation. As a driving agency it is not uncommon for our drivers to come across traffic. Let’s just hope that by this time next year we won’t be that one step closer to becoming the most congested country in Europe.

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Hang up on social driving…

In a technology driven world, it’s no surprise that there are more than 83.1 million mobile phones in the UK. Phones have become integral in our everyday routine, using them for work, rest and play. However, as mobile phones become more mainstream, they now present serious danger on the road as some UK drivers continue to use their phone behind the wheel.

Since 2003, using hand-held phones whilst driving has been illegal, which includes periods of queueing in traffic or at traffic lights. Similarly, they cannot be used when supervising a learner driver. However, all drivers should be aware that if there is an emergency and it is unsafe or impractical to stop, drivers may use their phone to dial 999 – this is the only exception to the rules.

You may think the penalty of breaking these rules would be enough to deter drivers – a maximum fine of £1000 or £2500 for drivers of buses and good vehicles, would go a long way towards their phone bill, not to mention at least three points marked on your license.

However, figures from a 2012 survey conducted by the Department for Transport found that 378 accidents reported that year involved a mobile phone, resulting in a horrific 548 casualties, 17 of them fatal. Motoring experts now believe that mobile phone use is now the biggest cause of death on UK roads.

Despite these harrowing facts and figures, a disturbing new trend has emerged, taking over social media with the hashtag #DrivingSelfie. A recent survey found that out of 500 drivers questioned, 1 in 5 admitted to taking selfies while on the road. Even more shockingly, one in 12 admitted to using Skype or FaceTime to video call whilst behind the wheel, while another 7 per cent admitted to watching TV during their journey.

After conducting a survey which found 70% of young drivers consider texting acceptable when pulled over with the engine running, The AA has pledged to help tackle the nationwide problem by working alongside driving instructors. With pressure mounting to increase the penalty fines, the motor specialists are aiming to spread the safety message, by ensuring that lessons for future learners have a prominent focus on mobile phone usage, highlighting the ‘do’s and don’ts’ of the law.

Here at Drivers Direct, our driver’s safety is our priority. As using a mobile phone behind the wheel can affect every road user and has serious consequences, our training and recruitment ensures that all our drivers know and follow the law. With this in place we can provide a safe and effective service, safe in the knowledge that our drivers know that the solution is simple: don’t use your phone behind the wheel.

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