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Drivers Direct on: The Value of Quality Drivers

Drivers Direct on: The Value of Quality Drivers

There is no denying that logistics and professional drivers are the beating heart of the UK economy – as the FTA’s Peter Snelling so aptly put it: “Over 90% of everything the public eat, drink, wear and build with travels on an HGV at some point in the supply chain.” Such a figure throws a sharp focus on our industry, and highlights the value of quality professional drivers – who can sometimes be overlooked by the public eye.

 

With the ever-increasing popularity of online shopping and at-home deliveries, the looming threat of Brexit and its effect on a driving skills’ shortage which we discussed at length last month, the need for our professional drivers to be highly trained with efficiency, reliability and integrity has never been higher.

 

And it’s not just the technicalities of the economic climate and consumer shift to e-commerce which places a strong need for an increase in the numbers of highly-skilled professional drivers. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, the value of quality drivers is often overlooked: the ‘behind the scenes’ part of the supply chain rarely acknowledged by the end user. However, whenever professional driving – in particular, HGVs – are acknowledged, there seems to be a worrying pattern: type in ‘HGV’ or ‘lorry’ into Google News and you’ll be greeted with plethora of negativity – vehicle collisions, cyclist accidents and poor driver behaviour.

 

When professional drivers are ‘behind the scenes’, the majority of the public’s knowledge and, therefore, opinions of HGV drivers comes from the media. So, when the majority of the mainstream consumer media’s stories about HGV drivers only focuses on the minority of poor drivers’ actions, the public’s opinion is going to be skewed.

 

Whilst there is little we can do to persuade the media to present a more balanced view when ‘disaster stories’ bring in online clicks and revenue, it does present an even more important need for professional drivers to be of the highest quality with proper training and qualifications – we must ensure that through our work every day on Britain’s roads, we are showing that the majority of drivers are safe, conscientious and respectful as they work as the major player in an efficient supply chain to ensure businesses across Britain can continue to thrive.

 

There’s little point in simply discussing the importance of high-quality drivers – we must ensure it is actioned. Which is why we’re incredibly proud of Drivers Direct Training, our own internal scheme. We provide both training and assessments for our own drivers on behalf of our clients, or in-house for companies with their own fleet of drivers. With classroom-based driver development courses we can help you or your drivers progress and improve – offering courses covering basic health and safety and heathy eating, right the way through to driver security, customer care, and fuel efficiency.

 

Training is something businesses must invest in – not only will it help to build the reputation of the logistics and transport industry, but provides significant peace of mind and ROI knowing that the drivers you employ are of the highest quality, working on the roads with honesty and autonomous motivation for your business’ needs.

 

If you’d like to learn more about Drivers Direct Training, and how our trained drivers can deliver the best results for your business, get in touch with our team today.

 

 

 

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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: Recruitment, Logistics & Brexit

Drivers Direct on: Recruitment, Logistics & Brexit

It’s been hard to ignore the b-word that’s been on everyone’s lips and in the media since 29th March 2017.  Brexit has no doubt been the talk of the country and the world for that matter.  Ever since the referendum results were announced there’s been numerous companies offering their perspective on what they think it will mean for not just the UK but also their own businesses.  With Brexit we’re plunging into the unknown and the UK want answers.

 

With the recruitment sector and Brexit there’s been worries over talent shortages and questions over movability, especially as the recent whitepaper released by the Government stated that there would be free movement.  The report aims to offer a clear vision of what they want to achieve upon exiting the EU – but many are still feeling very much in the dark.  The one saving grace is that the UK plans to negotiate an arrangement that would allow UK nationals to visit the EU for short-term businesses purposes and vice versa for EU citizens.  This would offset any pressure on companies that have link to the EU, for example other offices or business partners.

 

However, some businesses have expressed their doubt in the Government’s ability to proceed successfully with Brexit plans.  The second quarter of 2018 has also seen some recruitment difficulties across various sectors including manufacturing, retail and hospitality – right down to fruit farmers, who are facing a lack of seasonal labourers leading to produce spoiling with too few hands.  It’s vital that UK businesses are brought out of the dark to find out what they can expect following the introduction of Brexit.

 

Recruitment in the professional driving industry, particularly with HGV drivers, is experiencing a similar issue to the fruit farmers.  Workers from the EU are staying in their home countries instead of coming over to the UK for work due to the uncertainty that Brexit poses as we near the leaving date with very little decisions made for the industry.  The Government is still working out the knots for their Brexit plans but the professional driving industry is already experiencing driver shortages, meaning clarity is urgently needed not only for UK businesses, but EU workers too.

 

James Hookham, the Deputy Chief Executive of the Freight Transport

Association recently told industry press that although the recent whitepaper had offered positive proposals for certain areas of the logistics industry, issues such as the security of job status for skilled EU workers are still unspoken for.  The free movement of workers between the UK and EU needs to have further explanation, as well as providing reassurance to businesses who depend on those workers for the continuity of their deliveries.  Over 45,000 HGV drivers from Europe currently work in the UK; without the appropriate working permits, job losses could have a serious effect on the industry.

 

It’s safe to say that there’s been a lot of upset over the thought of the UK leaving the EU, with some even claiming it’ll have an apocalyptic effect!  At this stage in the game, we’re hoping for clarity for the recruitment sector as a whole, as well as what Brexit will mean for foreign drivers and working permits.  As an area that was lightly touched on in the Brexit whitepaper compared to other aspects of logistics, we hope to see a lot more discussion on it in the coming months.

 

 

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From the Front Lines to The Cab

From the Front Lines to The Cab

There’s no doubt that leaving the UK’s Armed Forces can be a daunting prospect, regardless of how long you’ve served.  Moving from the structured lifestyle of the forces to the quieter life as a civilian is a huge life-changing event and the rate of each individual’s transition varies depending on their experiences.  With this in mind, it should be remembered throughout this post that no two ex-service personnel are the same.

Here at Drivers Direct, we feel very passionately about helping ex-servicemen and women back into civilian life.  With our MD Gethin Roberts being an ex-serviceman himself, we understand that it can be difficult to get used to normal everyday life again.  Last year we were proud to raise £2,500 for the Victory Services Club in London following our annual employee black-tie ball.  We’re very supportive of the work they do as they aid both serving and ex-service personnel and their families.

Service personnel possess a great wealth of skills and a second-to-none work ethos that is truly unique.  Their skills can be so specialised that they may feel they have the wrong qualifications to work in a civilian role – but this isn’t the case!

In the Armed Forces, there’s a real sense of camaraderie and family where you’ll spend each day with the same people – leaving that behind can seem strange.  Not having the same weight of responsibility put upon yourself each day will also appear to be a strange concept, but our company prides itself in helping ex-service personnel into the professional driving industry.  As we recruit for temporary and flexible driving positions, we’re a great avenue for slowly introducing yourself back into the world of civilian work; and you could even find your new career.

Currently in the UK the logistics and delivery sector are experiencing a driver shortage which is in vital need of a solution and with Brexit drawing closer, this shortage has been predicted to worsen.

Being a professional driver for Drivers Direct brings many perks, offering a flexible lifestyle and the option to pick the jobs you want to do.  You’ll also have the chance to travel around the country, and meet fellow drivers and Logistics personnel. As a Logistics professional you’ll have your managers and fellow drivers and people you meet on the road to interact with, but you’ll always have your own personal space in your own cab.

To find out more how Drivers Direct can help you transition from the Armed Forces into a professional driver career, please get in touch with us.

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Drivers Direct's Annual Black Tie Ball

Drivers Direct’s Annual Black Tie Ball

Every year we host our charity black tie ball in London and it’s always been a fantastic way to bring all the Drivers Direct branches together in celebration.  The evening also gives us the opportunity to award employees and branches that have stood out over the past year.  Here at Drivers Direct we believe it’s incredibly important to give credit where credit’s due and rewarding effort accordingly with luxury trips to London, Paris or the Big Apple itself!

Our company ball isn’t just about us though: each year we pick a charity to support, months in advance of the ball.  Last year we supported the Victory Services Club and raised £2,500 throughout the year with the help of our 2017 ball.  This year, our teams nominated the NSPCC to support, the UK’s leading charity working to protect children from abuse.  We’re delighted to announce that the event raised £2,000 for the NSPCC and we’d like to give a huge thank you to all of our Driver Direct employees for helping to make it possible!

Guests arrived at the Victory Services Club in London in black tie with smiles on their faces as they reunited with colleagues across the UK – ready to join in with a drink or two and enjoy a delicious three-course meal.

Sarah, branch manager of the Preston office, was the lucky winner of a trip to New York after her branch was recognised as the winner of Drivers Directs League 1.  We’re very excited for Sarah and can’t wait to hear all about her trip across the pond.

We asked Sarah about her big win and she said, “I am over the moon!  I can’t believe I’m going to New York, it definitely hasn’t sunk in yet, but it will be an incredible trip.  I’m so thankful and it means a lot to know I’m valued, and I’m really motivated for another successful year!”

Doncaster had another success this time around after winning a luxury trip to London last year. Jason Hardisty, the branch manager has been lucky enough to win a trip to Paris as Doncaster were the winners of League 2 and was one of the most successful offices over the past year.  We’re looking forward to the staple picture in front of the Eiffel Tower!

Jason told us, “Paris is a city I’ve always wanted to see, and I can’t wait to have some authentic French food and see all the sites!  It feels fantastic to be chosen for this award and I feel so proud and look forward to another year at Drivers Direct.”

Jack Short of our St Albans office came 1st in League 3 which wins him a luxury trip to London and he’s very much looking forward to taking a break in the Capital as his branch was also voted into the top 3 as the highest-performing out of the UK.

“I’m looking forward to my trip to London, it’s a fantastic city but usually I’m in the hustle and bustle of it all, so on this occasion it’ll be great to relax!”, John explains.

Last but not least, Mat Rogers, the branch manager of Crewe, scooped up two awards, the 5 Year Award and the Highest Margin Award.  Mat took home a Drivers Direct trophy and an engraved Mont Blanc pen after being named as one of the company’s most dedicated employees.

We asked Mat what it felt like to receive not one but two awards, “It really hasn’t sunk in, I’m so proud of my Crewe team and to be recognised for my 5 years at Drivers Direct is fantastic.  My trophy is in a prized place at home and my Mont Blanc pen joins me at the office!”

Gethin Roberts, our MD responded, “The reason Drivers Direct thrives is because of the employees.  With this in mind, it’s a prime example of why hard work needs to be rewarded so staff know just how much they’re appreciated.  Sarah, Jason, Jack and Mat’s dedication to Drivers Direct really shone through this year and they’ve well and truly earned their trips!”

 

 

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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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Young Driver Shortage – Enticing the Younger Generation

Many people dream of a job that allows them to travel the length of the country, head overseas, work flexible hours, meet new people every day and consistently receive professional support. Sound like it’s ticking all the right boxes? Some may be surprised to learn that the profession that perfectly fits this bill is a HGV driver, yet, despite its many perks, the industry is still struggling to recruit young people.

For the past two years, the haulage industry has been talking about the shortage of drivers. It is now, according to the House of Commons Transport Committee, widely accepted that this shortage reaches figures between 45,000 and 60,000. With 60% of HGV drivers aged above 45, and just 2% under the age of 25, the industry needs to find a way to motivate school leavers to consider choosing driving as a career path, so that when many of the existing drivers reach retirement, there will be a number of young people qualified and ready to step up into the available positions.

From being viewed as a ‘last resort’ career, to lack of awareness for the industry, there are a number of reasons why young people aren’t choosing the doors that the logistic industry opens. Largely, young people do not realise that the HGV industry is a viable career path; despite its net worth and its irreplaceable contribution to everyday life, the All Part Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Freight Transport claim that there is not enough career guidance or education on the HGV sector.

The availability of training for young people is there – they simply need to be told about it. The APPG found that there are 142 higher education courses on logistics (or related subjects) available to school leavers in the UK, which includes courses at 48 different universities. As the education leaver’s age has more recently increased to the age of 18, the age at which a C+E licence can be acquired, it is hoped that more people will leave school and head straight into the logistics sector.

However, their report also believes that insurance has a large contribution to the matter; many under 25s cannot afford to become drivers because of the cost of insurance, and without a full car licence, you cannot then proceed to become a HGV driver. To counter this problem, transport experts are recommending that student loans should be provided to cover the cost of vocational courses and any expenses they may have, which may include insurance.

There are increasing calls for the government to improve funding for the sector in a bid to encourage young people to pursue a HGV driver career. Here at Drivers Direct, we’re also keen for this to happen as we are very aware of the detrimental effects this shortage could have on the industry in the long haul.

At Drivers Direct, we believe that each of our drivers are happy and comfortable in their jobs, and under our care, each are trained to the highest standards. We hope that in the future we can overcome these difficulties and that our workforce can rapidly expand, which will in turn, enable the growth of the logistics industry as a whole.

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Women In Logistics

March 8th is International Women’s Day, and we’ve been investigating women in logistics. Despite the fact that there has been an incredible rise of women in the business world, the logistics sector is one which remains male dominated. Only one to two percent of the workforce in the world’s logistics sectors are women, although 125 million people work in this industry.

 

Although this statistic is less dramatic in the UK, it still remains that less than a quarter of the 1.5 million within the logistics industry are female, according to the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES).

 

Yet in recent years, some studies have concluded that having more female leaders, including board members, managers and supervisors, leads to better business outcomes.  Examples of this include higher levels of productivity, safety and improved financial returns, as referenced in the 2009 Women in Supply Chain report.

 

This insight was supported by the PWC Transportation & Logistics 2030 report, which stated that companies with the most women board directors outperformed those with the least by an incredible 16% in return on sales, and by 26% in return on invested capital. These studies make a compelling business case for gender diversity and inclusion.

 

So if there are such strong evidence that women improve performance, why are we struggling to bring women into the logistics industry and what can be done to help resolve this?

 

The transport and logistics industry is typically described as a ‘non-traditional’ employment pathway for women and suffers from poor perceptions of its career opportunities for women.  Addressing perceptions that the logistics industry is a career option for all is a real challenge as it’s hard to escape the fact that roles can involve moving and lifting.

 

We need to focus on the fact that logistics is applicable to every industry and business sector in the world – retail, life sciences, fashion, technology, construction, transport and so on. This means that in addition to needing drivers and warehouse operatives, there’s also a requirement for business development and customer-facing personnel.

 

Encouragingly, several market developments are creating viable opportunities to include women in ‘non-traditional’ roles in the local and global industry. These include advances in technology such as automatic gearboxes and hydraulic lifting equipment, the retirement of existing workers, increasing levels of education and improved technical training among new entrants in the workforce.

 

For more information on Women in Logistics, visit the group online (aptly named Women in Logistics!). For more information on how you can join Drivers Direct, visit our website or give us a call on 01928 572200.

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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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