The Mid Ulster Labour Market Partnership (LMP) is giving Mid Ulster residents the chance to put themselves in the driving seat of their own career development through a new scheme that will provide free training for those seeking to become fully qualified HGV lorry and coach drivers.
The HGV/PCV Employment and Training Academy has been developed by the LMP, in consultation with local industry, to address the chronic shortage of drivers currently faced by haulage and transport firms within the district.
Last year, the business group Logistics UK said there was a shortage of about 3,000 to 4,000 haulage drivers in Northern Ireland. HGV Licences are expensive to obtain and often inaccessible for many. The academy will be aimed at residents of the borough who are long term unemployed or underemployed, providing a career pathway in haulage and transport which may have been previously out of their reach.
Chair of Mid Ulster District Council, Councillor Córa Corry, welcomed the new scheme saying: “The Mid Ulster LMP are taking action to tackle the shortage of drivers by removing barriers to help more of our residents to develop careers in the industry.
“It will support them to achieve the skills and qualifications they will need to be road ready in 2023. As well as increasing the opportunities for individuals who may have found it difficult to access them previously, this initiative will help create a strong and resilient haulage and transport industry in Mid Ulster.”
It is envisaged that 25 residents from the Mid Ulster district will benefit from the initiative receiving, training, testing and mentoring support to pursue a career pathway in the logistics field. Those who complete the programme offered through the Academy will be supported financially to obtain Class 2 and/or Class 1 licences, invaluable in gaining employment as an HGV or Transport Driver.
The programme will be delivered by People 1st, a local training & employment company, in partnership with the Henderson Group, who will be providing the practical training.
Brenda Kernaghan, Director at People 1st said, “The intervention provided by the LMP is providing a gateway for district residents who have been out of work, to obtain job security in an established area.
“People 1st will be working with the participants, providing mentoring and guidance throughout the process, partnering with local employers to assist with the transition into employment. This is a great opportunity which has had proven success in other Council areas’’.
To qualify, applicants will need to have a full UK driving licence for a minimum of five years with no more than 3 penalty points and show proof that they live in the Mid Ulster District Council area.
Applications close on October 27, and can be completed via an online application form here.
Practical and driving theory training will be taking place before Christmas and candidates will also be offered help to update their CVs and prepare for job interviews with local companies in the new year.
Local employers can review the priorities of the Mid Ulster Labour Market Partnership Action Plan on the Council’s website, or request a copy of the in full by emailing LMP@midulstercouncil.org.