Knights of Old teaches unemployed to drive

Knights of Old is to take on a third cohort of long-term unemployed people to train up as Category C lorry drivers via a successful scheme devised with the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP).

The Kettering-based haulier first piloted the scheme in 2012, following discussions HR manager Nick Bithell had at a local careers fair with a representative from the NEP about the shortage of HGV drivers.

“We talked about the driver shortage, how the recession was still raging on and that there were so many unemployed people it was a shame we couldn't get them trained up to be drivers – a job for life,” he said.

A scheme was developed whereby Knights of Old participated in a sector-based work academy, whereby the employer offers training to a group of people who have been unemployed for at least six months, with the commitment to interview them all at the end.

Candidates spend a week at college and a week at the logistics firm working alongside an experienced driver. After this, they are interviewed, and if successful, become eligible for funding by Job Centre Plus to train for their Category C licence as they have a “promise of employment” .

“It was really good because not only do you get new drivers in, but you also get drivers that are loyal to you because they are happy you have invested in them in the process,” said Bithell.

  • This story first appeared in the print edition of Commercial Motor published on 23 October. Why not subscribe today?