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Moving From Military To Logistics

Coming out of the military and transitioning into civilian life once more can be scary, and it can also be daunting to choose a career path that’s right for you after spending your working life up until now serving the country.

At Drivers Direct, we’re big on encouraging ex-military into the exciting and opportunistic world of logistics.

Managing Director Gethin Roberts comes from a background in the forces himself. Below, you can find out more about his journey* – and also how you can go from serving in the military, to working in logistics.

Transitioning From The Forces To Logistics

Gethin Roberts, Managing Director of Drivers Direct, joined the RAF at the age of 17 as a driver. He had no formal qualifications from school but found that the RAF gave him the opportunity to re-educate and take courses to develop professionally. At 18, Gethin passed his HGV3 test (now LGV class 2) and 2 years later, passed the HGV1 test (now LGV C+E).  As well as this, during his time in the military, Gethin became qualified in driving coaches, tankers, forklifts, cranes and specialist vehicles for airports, including tugs and air cargo vehicles.

There is a misconception that military life means doing everything differently to that which a civilian organisation would do, when actually there’s a wide range of roles carried out in the services with transferable skills when you return to civilian life. Those roles within the military do of course include logistics. It might well be the case that you already have experience in an industry, before returning to the working world to further develop it.

In fact, over 80% of people who leave the armed forces are employed in other roles around six months after leaving service. There are plenty of skills and qualities that a background in the military can result in.

Speaking of his time in the Armed Forces, Gethin said: “I served in the RAF for 12 years and left at the age of 30 at the rank of Corporal. I suppose looking back, it was quite a daunting concept, having joined the RAF straight from school – it was essentially all I was used to.”

In 2002, Drivers Direct was born after Gethin and 3 friends decided to set up a company specialising in driver recruitment. After 18 years, the company now turns over £26 million, employs 83 staff and has over 1500 drivers working each week.

How To Get A Job After Leaving The Military

The transition from being service personnel to working in a civilian role is one that can absolutely be achieved. There are so many opportunities in logistics, as well as other industries. If you’re hoping to transition from serving in the military, to working in logistics, It’s important that you…

  • Prepare well
  • Update your CV and professional information
  • Keep updated with relevant recruiters on social media (e.g. Twitter and LinkedIn)
  • Stay focused
  • Connect with relevant people who can help with recruitment
  • Take advantage of any initiatives available to you
  • Use your skills wisely
  • Look for positions you enjoy
  • Share your experiences and qualities

Where To Look For Logistics Jobs 

Drivers Direct is a logistics recruitment agency, pairing hard workers to our clients for all of their logistical needs. We employ for a wide range of roles, including…

  • LGV Drivers Class 1
  • LGV Drivers Class 2
  • 5 Tonne Drivers
  • 5 Tonne Drivers
  • Light Van Drivers
  • Minibus Drivers
  • Porters
  • Driver’s Mates
  • Forklift Truck Drivers
  • Warehouse Operatives
  • Transport Clarks
  • Shift Supervisors
  • Transport Managers

And many more.

Logistics has a skills gap, and we’re devoted to closing that. If you think you’d like to be a driver, and especially if you’re looking for a role after coming out of the military, why not contact our team and see what we can do?

You can also find us on social, we’re on Twitter and LinkedIn.

*You can find out more about Gethin’s journey in the July issue of Focus by the CILT.

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Border Operating Model EU UK

What Impact Will The Border Operating Model Have On The UK Supply Chain?

Last month, we talked about how the lack of Brexit attention might impact the logistics industry, today we are taking a deeper look into the Government’s latest update for the UK-EU borders which will significantly impact the logistics industry: The Border Operating Model.

It has certainly been a strange time, over the last few months. The Coronavirus pandemic came as a shock to everybody, and as such, all attention has been focused on handling this crisis. Perhaps inevitably as a result of this, there has been less attention on Brexit, and reaching an agreement by 31st December 2020, the end of the transition period.

One sector directly affected by this is logistics. To afford the industry extra time to make necessary arrangements, the UK Government has introduced new border controls in three stages up until 1st July 2021. This is known as the Border Operating Model.

What Is The Border Operating Model?

The Border Operating Model is a 206-page document that was released on Monday 13th July 2020. It covers the new customs processes that will be phased in over a six-month period, with the border to be fully operational from 1st July 2021. At the end of the transition period later this year, exports from the UK to Europe will face customs checks, including changes to VAT rules, animal and plant health checks, as well as safety and security declarations. As reported by the Financial Times, the nature of these checks will depend on the outcome of EU-UK negotiations.

According to the Handy Shipping Guide, logistics groups have reacted rapidly to these latest UK government plans. The reaction was largely a “metaphorical pat on the head rather than a slap on the back” and when a freight trade organisation says it is ‘keeping its fingers crossed’, the Handy Shipping Guide have argued that this “hardly shouts inspired confidence.”

A sweeping mood across the logistics industry suggests that there is a concern as to whether the measurements required could be put in place in time to secure a smooth transition. There is also still a general interest in getting a favourable deal secured with the EU. Head of International Policy at the FTA, Alex Veitch, commented, “Logistics as an industry is highly flexible and can adapt quickly to changing circumstances, as we have seen throughout the Covid-19 crisis, but nevertheless it is good to have confirmation of a large proportion of the detail of how goods are expected to move between the UK and EU from the start of next year.

”We are advising our members to do all they can to get Brexit ready, for example adapting their systems to produce the right border documentation, working with customers to understand the requirements for each party in the supply chain, and enrolling in trusted trader schemes like CTC Transit. These will all be needed whether or not the UK government strikes a deal with the EU.

“However, logistics businesses are also urging the government to continue pursuing a deal with their EU counterparts as an urgent priority. This will to make it simpler to trade, ensure trucks and planes from the UK have access to the EU, and minimise economic disruption. Logistics is committed to making the new relationship with the EU work, we now need the government to do the same and strike a deal.”

What Impact Will The Border Operating Model Have On The UK Supply Chain & Logistics Industry?

In an article by the Financial Times, it was suggested that the additional checks at the end of the UK’s transition period could cost up to £7bn. There is a general consensus in the logistics industry that it would be favourable to reach a deal by the end of the transition period.

In May, Sarah Laouadi, European Policy Manager at FTA, stressed the importance of this: “With so little time left before both sides are due to take stock of the negotiations and assess whether a deal can be finalised within the Brexit deadlines, it is now imperative that progress is made.

“The EU and UK have a highly interdependent supply chain, which affects so many businesses on both side of the Channel, and our members are keen that this week’s negotiations ensure that the work that is done by so many businesses to trade effectively can continue without interruption.”

The new Border Operating Model gives some clarity to borders and how they will work after 31st December, but even with a phased transition, there are still a number of issues to think about such as logistics recruitment, finding staff qualified and experienced in customs procedures, as well as the lack of time to train new drivers in these areas.

Also, without new technology, there is also the worry that there could be congestion at the border and severe delays, according to BIFA director general Robert Keen.

There are mixed feelings to be had over the new Border Operating Model. Positives include having more clarity and direction in 2021, as well as the partnering news that there would be a further £750m investment to fund new infrastructure, jobs and technology at the GB-EU border to help support any snagging issues. However, the issues remain to be that it could be more favourable to reach an agreement deal by the end of the transition period, so that any concerns from the logistics industry are dealt with in due time.

Have your say by tweeting us at @DriversDirect.

Drivers Direct specialises in the recruitment and placement of temporary and permanent drivers of all classes. We pride ourselves on our ability to work closely with both our clients and applicants to ensure that we provide a quality service to both. You can find out more by getting in touch.

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Brexit trade deal logistics

Brexit & Logistics – What Impact Will A Lack of Attention Have On The Industry?

Since our exit from the EU just under 6 months ago, the focus has shifted away from Brexit over the past few months, with the outbreak of Coronavirus dramatically changing life as we know it.

Covid-19 has impacted the logistics industry in more ways than one, with one being a considerable delay in negotiation talks over reaching a trade deal. With most Government attention channelled into combating the spread of the virus, since Britain left the EU earlier this year, efforts of reaching an exit agreement have been somewhat delayed.

So, what impact will the pandemic have on the relationship between Brexit and the transport and logistics industry? 

The Current Brexit Situation

The current situation, as reported by the BBC, is that deals with 19 countries are expected to roll over until the end of the transition period (at the end of this year). These 19 countries account for around 8% of total UK trade. The other 92%, is still yet to be negotiated.

It has been argued that it is beneficial for both UK, and European countries, to come to a free trade agreement – as no side wants tariffs or quotas. However, it is now up to the governing bodies of each country to negotiate a fair deal with the UK.

Before the outbreak of Coronavirus, both Government and media attention was very much focused on Brexit. We have but a short period to decide on exit agreements, and it can be presumed that this year’s efforts would have been primarily focused on that. Since the country has been dealing with Covid-19, however, attention has shifted onto dealing with this national health crisis and Brexit has moved lower on the list of priorities.

Why Do We Need To Reach A Trade Deal?

1st June saw the latest round of Brexit negotiations underway. It was during this time that Sarah Laouadi, European Policy Manager at FTA urged the UK to progress:

“It is of paramount importance that progress is made now towards the creation of a trade agreement that’s acceptable to both parties.

The UK has outlined its proposed free trade agreement, which the EU has had time to consider. On behalf of those responsible for manufacturing and moving goods on both sides of the border, we are urging both sides to approach next week’s round of discussions in an open and welcoming manner, to ensure that progress can be made on reaching a consensus that benefits both sides. 

With so little time left before both sides are due to take stock of the negotiations and assess whether a deal can be finalised within the Brexit deadlines, it is now imperative that progress is made at the talks. The EU and UK have a highly interdependent supply chain, which affects so many businesses on both side of the Channel, and our members are keen that this week’s negotiations ensure that the work that is done by so many businesses to trade effectively can continue without interruption.”

It can be said from this that it is important to not only the logistics sector, but other industries too, that some sort of trade deal is agreed to protect the UK/EU supply chain.

Faced with a Brexit scenario where no deals are ironed out, possible threats to logistics could include:

  • Reduced trade
  • Stricter border control & tariffs
  • Changes to haulier regulations
  • Immigration control

This outcome could have a knock-on effect on haulier operations, but also if there is stricter immigration control, the infamous logistics skills gap may begin to widen even more. We can help to bridge this gap by changing perceptions and encouraging young talent into the sector, as well as showcasing what a career in logistics has to offer.

There are uncertainties for sure, and whether a deal is reached or not, we don’t doubt that the logistics industry will continue to be a fundamental service that sees the smooth running of day to day life. Even with the country gripped with an international health crisis, our logistics workers have still been putting themselves on the front line to keep shops full, transport medical goods and more. There will always be a need for logistics.

What Impact May A Lack Of Attention Have?

With efforts primarily focused on containing Coronavirus, there is every chance that it may take longer to come to an agreement with the EU; that’s if a deal is even negotiated at all.

In fact, EU Diplomats have even branded it “impossible” to reach a UK-EU trade deal with tariffs in just 6 months; something that was originally suggested to be plausible.

The focus on Brexit is, of course, being used for a cause, well worthy of Government time, but speaking for the Transport & Logistics industry, we would also urge the UK to endeavour to reach a solution that protects our sector.

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road emissions, cars in traffic

Road Emissions: Practicalities vs Ideologies

Following the well-documented UN climate action summit in New York last month, climate change and tackling environmental issues have never been heralded such high a profile. One of the issues Governments throughout the globe are looking to work on is reducing road emissions.

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HGV Drivers: the Beating Heart of the UK Economy

HGV Drivers: the Beating Heart of the UK Economy

 

Could you imagine life without next day delivery? Logistics and professional drivers are the beating heart of the UK economy. According to the FTA, over 90% of everything the public eat, drink, wear and build with travels on an HGV at some point in the supply chain.

 

Logistics operators and HGV drivers are the heroes that keep our shops full, even whilst the industry faces a driver shortage and skills gap.  With Brexit looming, this is expected to worsen as restrictions will be put in place, affecting international workers in the UK.

 

In the 2019 Logistics Report, it was reported that 15% of HGV driver vacancies are not being filled because of a skills shortage; which poses the question: how much longer can we keep the hero status? With an ageing workforce and a lack of young entrants in the industry, it is now so important to change young people’s perceptions of a career in logistics. Stats from the FTA report that only 1% of HGV drivers are under the age of 25, with the average age of a driver being about 53 years old. In fact, 47% of all drivers are over 50 years of age.

 

Think Logistics, a volunteer-led programme sponsored by the FTA, promotes careers in logistics within schools and colleges.  They engage with students through workshops and presentations to explain what logistics is – also addressing any misconceptions about the sector.  Many kids have negative perceptions of the sector and this can have an adverse effect on attracting young people to logistics. However, we know that if the industry worked together, we could have more success highlighting the opportunities this sector has to offer.

 

The FTA has suggested the Government should reform the Apprenticeship Levy and replace it with a Training Levy – opening more doors for vocational training and workers, as well as ensuring the upskilling of the UK’s workforce.  At Drivers Direct, we fully support and are actively encouraging more young people into the industry – we provide training and assessments for our own drivers on behalf of our clients, as well as in-house training for other nationwide companies.

 

In schools there can be a cultured expectation and pressure on pupils to attend university -with a heavy focus on the importance of a degree.  However, there is not enough appreciation for the vocational subjects and professional driving jobs that have a hand in the success of the UK’s supply chain.  We feel the Government needs to use its voice and platform to raise awareness of the logistics industry.

 

It is vital now more than ever to have clarity on Brexit, to help EU HGV drivers who are facing uncertainty with their job positions in the UK.  If we want to continue to be the heroes that keep our shops full, we need to get young people interested in the industry whilst they are still at school and show them the career paths available to them aside from university.  We need to see a change in the statistics, so that we are no longer a part of an ageing workforce.

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Drivers Direct Logistics

Professional Driving Careers: Changing Young People’s Perceptions

 

It’s no secret that the logistics industry has become increasingly concerned over the issue of a drivers shortage in the UK.  With an ageing workforce, a dependence on EU workers and a lack of new entrants, it’s created a cause for concern – with logistics the beating heart of the country, it’s incredibly important to change young people’s perceptions of working as a professional driver.  Changing attitudes towards a career in logistics will fill the skills gap and alleviate the pressures on the sector and current workers.

 

The Freight Transport Association(FTA) is in its third year of sponsorship of Think Logistics, a volunteer-led programme that promotes careers in logistics within schools and colleges.  It engages with students through workshops and presentations to explain what logistics is all about – whilst also clearing up any misconceptions about the sector.

 

It’s a great step in the right direction for leaders in the industry to use their connections to trigger change.  In 2016 and 2017, the FTA exhibited at the Skills Show in Birmingham, an event which is visited by over 80,000 students, teachers and parents.  Through their work with organisations like Think Logistics, the FTA has been able to connect with young people and circulate materials that paint a picture of the industry – using case studies and bespoke career brochures.  With poor sector image being one of the reasons for bypassing a logistics career, it’s really important to highlight all of the opportunities across the sector, as well as within HGV driving.

 

A professional driving career is rewarding with the opportunity to plan your hours to suit your lifestyle – of course as long as delivery targets are met and the DVSA guidelines are met.  It’s guaranteed that you’ll meet new people every day, certainly a far cry from the misconception that it’s a lonely career.  HGV driving also gives you the opportunity to travel up and down the country and see new places and you’ll still have consistent contact with other employees at your base.

 

In its campaign for changing young people’s perceptions, the FTA are suggesting the Government should reform the Apprenticeship Levy to replace with a Training Levy – opening more doors for vocational training and workers, as well as ensuring the upskilling of the UK’s workforce. There’s also been encouragement for the Government to allow businesses to have a freer rein over what skills they require from apprenticeships, which in turn will support internal training.  As part of its campaign, the FTA have also called for the Government to use its voice to raise awareness of the logistics industry for job prospects to further support the efforts of industry leaders.

 

At Drivers Direct, we fully support this move to encourage more young people into the industry.  We provide trainingand assessments for our own drivers on behalf of our clients as well as in-house training for prestigious transport companies nationwide.  If you know a young person considering a career in logistics, be sure to point them in the direction of Think Logistics’ website, which has a breakdown of the various positions within transport.  To our fellow friends in the industry, if we all continue to work together and raise the profile of a career in logistics, we can make a difference.

 

 

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Professional Drivers & Cyclists: Keeping a Harmonious Relationship

Professional Drivers & Cyclists: Keeping a Harmonious Relationship

It’s no secret that there’s an ongoing issue with the relationship between two-wheeled and four-wheeled road users.  The likelihood of this partnership showing any developments remains to be seen.  However, the main topic that cyclists and vehicle owners (especially professional drivers) can agree on, is the issue of road safety.  If cyclists and HGV drivers could sing from the same hymn sheet, this would be a step closer to keeping a harmonious relationship.  In order for this to work, it’s important for cyclists and professional drivers to stay vigilant and aware of who they’re sharing the road with.  We’ve put together some of the most important safety measures for both cyclists and vehicle users.

 

For a cyclist, a high level of concentration is needed on the road, not only is it important to look out for your surroundings but you need to make sure that you’re being seen too.  When it comes to anticipating a driver’s turning intentions, never second guess in the event that an indicator isn’t used – a prime situation for a collision.  On the subject of indicating, know your own signalling for the road is vital – from the right or left turn to showing that you’re slowing down with one arm slightly extended to the side with the palm facing down and raising your hand up and down at wrist height.  To signal that you’re stopping, use one arm extended vertically upwards with the palm facing forward.  To help you further communicate on the road, it’s absolutely vital to have and use a bell.  Whether you’re a serious cyclist or you use your bike casually from time to time, make sure to maintain your bike and have it looked over by a professional at least once a year.

 

For professional drivers and other motorists, it’s imperative to check your blind spots before pulling away from a fixed position.  Waiting to check all mirrors and your blind spot could be the difference between noticing a cyclist and a potential accident.  For HGVs, the driver is of course sitting higher up than a standard vehicle and, with this in mind, the blind spots are even more important to take note of.  Much like the cyclists, signalling your direction is vital – and the earlier the better to make other people aware to reduce any risks.

 

In an ideal world, if all roads users could accept that everyone has equal right to use our roads, this would make a considerable difference to the relationship between professional drivers and cyclists.

 

Do you have any thoughts on what we’ve discussed in our blog or any ideas on bridging the gap between different types of road users?  Tweet us: @DriversDirect!

 

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Media and Reality: Why is there such a discrepancy for HGVs?

Media and Reality: Why is there such a discrepancy for HGVs?

HGVs are covered a lot in the media but it’s no secret that the headlines are usually associated with bad news.  In these cases, it’s extremely unfortunate that a sweeping opinion is made of people that are simply doing their job.

Without the HGV drivers who work their hardest to deliver what we pick up in the supermarket or online shopping purchases with the added convenience of one-day delivery, our lives would be very different.  Even during the holiday season in December when the industry is up against a driver shortage, those drivers inside their cabs still work their hardest to deliver.

The media covers a multitude of HGV accidents and the blame is usually on the HGV driver (rightly or wrongly).  Perhaps with trucks being the bigger vehicle, this is where the blame originates, even in situations where the cause hasn’t been found yet.  In an article written by Transport Topics, just last year, it was reported that 80% of car-truck crashes are caused by car drivers however, truck drivers are still blamed.

In the media, it’s a familiar concept for stories to be written purely to stir up outcry.  There is plenty of discussion over how damaging this can be for a number of industries, as well as individuals.  With road accidents, often comes a “he said, she said” situation with eye witnesses describing differing accounts for what happened.  This is why more and more fleet managers are having vehicle cameras in trucks to use as evidence, if ever needed.  In-cab recordings are also becoming more and more popular, as they show clearly what a driver is doing at the time of an accident – making it easy to see they’re blameless and were fully concentrating.

Interestingly, in 2017 Volvo Trucks carried out a survey with the public to gauge attitudes towards lorries.  Out of the 2,095 adults quizzed, 92% said they recognised the role that HGVs play in the smooth-running of everyday life.  96% also said they understood that an HGV driver possesses significant skills and training.  Professionals drivers and their lorries are the beating heart of British trade, supporting the economy as they transport goods up and down the country.

From the perspective of other road users such as cyclists, there’s been a call for lorries in urban areas to be reduced and that goods should be transferred to smaller vehicles, when delivering in towns and city centres.  A valid idea but with this comes many more factors to take into account, for example the extra time and money needed to orchestrate it.

With the current driver shortage that the industry is facing, which is only to be exacerbated with Brexit pending, it’s important to realise just how much the country depends on HGVs.  Instead of reprimanding professional drivers as a whole, bad driving should be called out – consumer, mainstream media attention does not focus on the majority of excellent professional drivers on the road and the necessity to British trade and economy.  The mainstream media should balance out their reporting to make sure their readers can form a fair and balanced view of professional drivers.  If consumers only see multiple stories about bad driving, their feelings will be unfairly skewed.

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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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