Veteran transport specialist Fagan & Whalley is attempting to address the industry’s driver shortage by allowing budding truckers to sample a pair of light vehicles without needing an HGV licence.
The company has bought two new 3.5-tonne Isuzu Grafter N35.125(S) rigids with curtainsider bodies, which will be used as part of its Future-Bound programme to attract and train new recruits.
“It will play a part in addressing the current driver shortage issues by attracting new people into our industry,” said operations strategy director, Daniel Wood, “the Grafter… has all the attributes of a truck without [trainees] having to have the formal qualifications to drive it.
He said the vehicles would be used to teach new applicants about load security, ratchet strapping, taillift procedures and loading and unloading from curtainsider bodies, while prospective drivers could also experience the difference between an over-engine cab and a vehicle with a bonnet.
Described by the firm as a “structed driver training programme”, the Future-Bound scheme allows applicants with a conventional, light-vehicle UK driving licence to work towards their professional HGV qualifications. It starts with the Grafters and rises through 12-, 18- and 44-tonne vehicles.
In addition to training work, the trucks will also be used for daily delivery duties as part of the company’s Palletforce arm. “Apart from the driver training benefits, the Grafters have an actual payload capacity of one tonne so we will be using them within our pallet network delivery operations based out of our head office in Padiham, Burnley,” said Wood.
Fagan & Whalley, which is approaching 100 years in business, bought the vehicles from Cumbria Truck Centre, and they were bodied by PPS Commercials in Bury, Lancashire.