The company is a founder member of the Palletline network, the Transport Association and a senior member of the RHA. The third generation family-owned business, whose headquarters are in Bourton-on-the-Water, Gloucestershire, is inspiring a new generation of LGV drivers through its Young Driver Scheme.
Describing the reason for the introduction of the Young Driver Scheme, Hackling (Transport) operations director Kevin Field explained the introduction of the Driver CPC presented the company with an opportunity to develop a new generation of drivers: “We welcomed the Driver CPC as the chance to invest in the professionalism of our drivers. However, we had neglected our drivers’ age profile, so we needed to find a way to attract and retain young drivers.”
The company decided to tap into the local market to within a radius of around 10 to 12 miles of Bourton-on-the–Water, for potential drivers. Field said insurance issues have been successfully addressed by working with the insurers to remove what has traditionally been a significant stumbling block for hauliers wishing to employ young drivers. The result, he said, is the company does not pay an additional premium for young drivers.
Candidates for the scheme have been attracted to it via a combination of advertising and word-of-mouth contact in the community in the local area. So far, the scheme has attracted 26 entrants and only four have left – a retention rate of around 85 per cent.
The scheme is not age-restricted and applications from people in their mid-30s have been received, added Field.
“Truck driving is a lifestyle,” he said. “Although there is no fixed period for the new drivers to complete their initial training, the process takes about a year.
“We use the services of a training company in Banbury to progress the scheme. At the beginning of the training scheme, they go out for a week with an experienced driver to see what the job is all about. They start by driving a van on multi-drop duties nationwide. A move up to a 7.5-tonner is followed by an 18-tonner, then a 26-tonne Volvo FM rigid. Finally, they get behind the wheel of the pride of the fleet: a 44-tonne FH artic. This way, they get used to working to a schedule. It also helps in building up their confidence in dealing with situations.”
“The Young Driver Scheme is not a cheap option,” Field added. “But, it is a cost-effective option long-term. Since its introduction, we have reduced our use of agency drivers by around 80 per cent. Out of 75 drivers employed, we now have 25 young drivers.
“The young drivers engage very well with the technology, such as Volvo’s Dynafleet telematics, and we are developing driver behaviour-related incentives,” he concluded. “With our on-going programme of driver development, we are helping our drivers to get the best out of their truck.”