In a recent article which appeared in the RHA’s Roadway magazine, we outline the benefits of both LGV/HGV apprenticeships and Skills Bootcamps as potential routes for gaining the HGV licence.
In the article, we argue that whilst the intensive Skills Bootcamp in HGV Driving provides a speedier result, the LGV apprenticeship remains a valuable tool for developing logistics staff. This is especially true for companies seeking to develop longer-term recruitment strategies.
The LGV apprenticeship is a 13-month programme that offers C+E licence acquisition and professional industry skills. The Urban Driver apprenticeship is of similar length but is designed for those seeking Cat C or C1 licences. Companies can use apprenticeships to recruit new staff members or upskill existing ones.
Just looking at costs, large employers are better off using apprenticeships as they can use their compulsory apprenticeship levy to fund 100% of training costs. Government funding covers 95% of SMEs’ apprenticeship costs, so firms pay between just £250 and £500 per apprentice.
The Skills Bootcamp in HGV Driving offers a much quicker route to Cat C or C+E licence acquisition and a more condensed programme of industry skills. Depending on test availability, the programme can be completed in as little as 16 weeks.
Cost-wise, SMEs and large employers pay nothing if they employ new candidates to put through the Skills Bootcamp. However, to upskill existing staff using this option, SMEs pay an average of £300 per trainee, and large employers £1100 (this varies according to licence type and other factors).
Of course, the Skills Bootcamp’s shorter length appeals to many. And the fact that it’s free for training new recruits is a bonus for smaller employers who would have to pay 5% of apprenticeship costs. But whilst the Skills Bootcamp provides a quicker fix, the apprenticeship offers a more substantial training experience. For example, apprentices are supported by a mentor who supervises them on live deliveries once they have passed their test. So they have had plenty of experience by the end of their apprenticeship, unlike bootcampers.
The Brakes Model for HGV licence acquisition
The Roadway feature also profiles how leading food wholesalers, Brakes, designed their own award-winning Changing Gears programme to recruit and train Cat C drivers. Not only has it addressed their driver shortages, but the exemplary initiative has proved hugely successful, boasting a 100% pass rate and playing a key role in attracting women into logistics. TRS will be supporting completers of this programme to progress onto higher-level apprenticeships.
Onsite skills academies: a combined approach
There are financial and practical pros and cons to both apprenticeships and Skills Bootcamps. Many employers choose one or the other. TRS Training provides both programmes, and director Kevin Birch argues that there are innovative ways to combine both. TRS supports employers in setting up onsite skills academies that mix and match government-funded initiatives to maximum benefit. He explains: