Co-op Group responds to lorry driver shortage with apprenticeship scheme

‘We’ll be able to help driver recruitment by attracting new talent and make the sector more appealing to younger people’

The Co-op Group says it is offering over 300 LGV driver apprenticeships in response to the current driver crisis facing the nation.

It says the offer comes with a competitive starting salary and a permanent contract, giving apprentices the opportunity to work towards a Class 1 vehicle licence and kickstart a career in driving.

With start dates throughout 2022, the programme will run for 12-15 months in various locations nationwide and will be available to both internal and external candidates.

Within three months, apprentices will become fully operational drivers, says the Group, and they will receive a pay increase from the starting salary of between £23,753.60 to £25,584, depending on location.

In the first three months, apprentices will carry out practical and theoretical learning to help to obtain their LGV Class 1 licence, paid for by the Group, and study a range of modules including driving regulations and delivering great customer service.

Recruitment has already started and will continue throughout 2022. Anyone with a full UK/EU Car Driving Licence can apply and no professional driving experience is required.

The Group says is also working with contract logistics providers, GXO and Wincanton, to create over 200 opportunities throughout 2022 at sites where they work on the retailer’s behalf. 

Co-op Food CEO, Jo Whitfield, said“The transport sector needs long-term sustainable change. Through our apprenticeship programme we’ll be able to help driver recruitment by attracting new talent and make the sector more appealing to younger people. These apprenticeships are part of our broader apprenticeship commitment at the Co-op to improve social mobility.

“I’m pleased to see the Co-op leading the way and the last few months have only stressed the importance of drivers who are not only providing a service that is so vital for our business but for society as a whole.”

Minister for skills, Alex Burghart, said: “It’s great to see Co-op continuing to invest in apprenticeships with the creation of 300 LGV apprentice roles.

“Apprenticeships are a superb way to launch careers or upskill in a wide range of key industries, and crucially help to plug workforce shortages by providing people with high-quality training in the skills businesses need to thrive.”

Aron Marshall

Aron Marshall, an HGV driver at the Group, who won Level 2 Apprentice of the Year, said: “Before taking the role I was working in an office setting with other drivers hearing about the different places they were going to, day to day, and I became really interested in learning something totally new and getting out there myself. It’s great to see the Co-op providing such a fantastic opportunity to start a career in driving. I’d really encourage people who are unsure about their future careers paths to consider re-training in one of the driver apprentice roles.”