Building materials supplier Selco has launched a training programme offering its staff the chance to become lorry drivers to help ease the nationwide shortage.
Selco said its new driver academy would aim to create dozens of qualified HGV drivers by May as the UK continued to face a mounting supply chain crisis caused by the skills shortage.
The company said it had also been a victim of the shortage and was struggling to fill more than 20 driver vacancies which the new initiative would help address along with ongoing issues facing the wider haulage sector.
Selco, which is headquartered in Wythall south of Birmingham, also increased its hourly pay rate for HGV drivers to £14 from the start of this month and £16 for those in London and across the south of England in a bid to attract new recruits.
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It comes as the likes of Tesco and Asda have been offering £1,000 starting bonuses to entice applicants.
The lorry driver shortage is adding to post-Brexit disruption and worldwide material supply problems amid the covid-19 pandemic which is hitting a raft of sectors, most notably supermarkets and hospitality.
Selco’s owner Grafton recently warned over soaring prices caused by the supply chain troubles, revealing the cost of materials in short supply had jumped by about 7.5 per cent compared with the same period a year ago.
This latest move by Selco follows the news last month that Meriden-based recruitment agency Pertemps was offering training worth £5,000 for free to potential HGV drivers as the shortfall in drivers in the UK runs into the tens of thousands.
HR director Marc Lucock said: “No industry or business is immune from the shortage and at Selco we currently have more than 20 vacancies to fill and that number is rising.
“We wanted to be proactive, not only to fill our vacancies but also play a very small part in helping to address the national shortage.
“This is the opportunity for people working in, for example, our branches who may not feel well suited to a management role to move into a different area of the business and gain the qualifications to set them on the road to an excellent career.”