Innovate Blog
Bunzl Catering Supplies launch Driver Academy scheme.

Thursday April 11, 2019

Bunzl Catering Supplies (BCS) has officially launched a Driver Academy scheme, established as a platform to assist current employees, and shortly new recruits, to achieve their career goals within the transport and logistics industry.

A part of the BCS Driver Academy scheme is a set of apprenticeship standards that have been developed for employees and runs in conjunction with Vision Business, the employer-training service of West Nottinghamshire College. Initially, the Driver Academy scheme is for BCS employees with no previous commercial driving experience, or for existing commercial drivers wishing to increase their qualifications, the apprenticeship standards offer an industry-leading opportunity for employees to earn whilst they learn.

The first Driver Academy session, which took place at BCS on 1 April at Mansfield, provided a programme overview along with a practical workshop, which covered: preparation of a vehicle, walk around checks, defect reporting, ancillary equipment checks, planning a delivery or collection and safe use of equipment. Feedback from the first session has been extremely positive and the attendees are now looking forward to completing their apprenticeship over the next 12-months.

Participants of the Driver Academy scheme 2019 will be joining the Large Goods Vehicle (Level 2) apprenticeship standard. Throughout the apprenticeship the candidates will gain all the knowledge required to be an elite multi-drop lorry driver with the chance to gain category C1 or C licences.

Richard Gray, HR Manager Bunzl Catering & Hospitality Division comments: “We noticed that the recruitment of drivers at BCS was becoming increasingly difficult year-on-year. We have seen a decline in the number of people seeing commercial driving as a good career choice, so we decided to create the Driver Academy scheme with the help of Vision Business. A fully funded programme providing a clear career path for warehouse and driver colleagues, the Driver Academy scheme will help us address the national shortage of drivers within our industry.”

The Driver Academy scheme has two specific standards:

Express Delivery Operative (Level 2) 12 Months – designed for new drivers and warehouse colleagues:

  • Handling Goods Safely
  • Route mapping and finding addresses
  • How to you tracking equipment
  • Courier policies and regulations
  • Customer service skills

Supply Chain Large Goods Vehicle (Level 2) 12 Months – designed for the upskilling of existing drivers:

  • Safe, controlled and fuel-efficient driving techniques and consideration of vulnerable road users
  • Vehicle preparation, safety checks, loading techniques and load management
  • Transport and route planning for a journey and its load
  • Use of the latest technology and changes such as adaptive braking and tachographs
  • Health and Safety and driver fitness
  • Delivering excellent customer service
  • Gain Category C1 or C qualification

To achieve an apprenticeship standard, which is funded by the apprenticeship levy fund, will see participants gaining core business skills such as communication and customer engagement which are fundamental parts on the road to becoming an elite multi drop driver. At the end of the programme the participants will have achieved a nationally recognised qualification and a Category C driving licence.

Phil Haskew, National Transport Manager BCS comments: “The Driving Academy scheme is a flagship programme for our existing employees, enabling them to advance their career within BCS. Shortly, the Driver Academy scheme will  open to external applicants, which we believe will be an incredible opportunity to those outside the business who may not have thought of commercial driving as a career choice, but which gives candidates an abundance of opportunities to develop.

The Driver Academy provides a structured programme that not only develops a person along their career journey, but allows them to earn as they work, which removes the concerns raised previously that training to become a HGV driving is too expensive.”

If you would like to find out more about the Driver Academy apprenticeship scheme, contact BCS today.