Nestlé UK & Ireland has launched its first-ever HGV Apprenticeship to train the next generation of lorry drivers.
In a company first, the unique programme will see apprentices learn both sides of Nestlé’s transport hub – working in both the Transport Planning department and the Delivery Operations team. For off-the-job training, apprentices will learn their theory before going on to complete their practical C+E HGV Licence. A category C+E licence is the highest HGV driving qualification you can hold and allows drivers to haul up to 44 tonnes.
Lucy Gray, Nestlé’s first HGV apprentice, is now one month into the course: “It’s completely new, and I am learning as I’m going. I have a day a week doing apprenticeship work – so currently, I’m studying for my theory.”
Before joining Nestlé, Lucy worked in the car industry for seven years, and then in transportation for a bathroom company. Becoming an HGV driver has been on Lucy’s radar for some time: “When I was young, I lived in the same house for 20 years. There was a guy that lived around the corner and had this massive red truck. We’d walk past it every day on the way to school, and I remember a couple of times he let us sit in the wagon - it’s something that has stayed with me. I’m not going to say that becoming an HGV driver was some part of a master plan, but it’s lovely that it’s matched up, and now I look back and see how it reflects what I’ve done and how I’ve got here.”
“I didn’t do my car licence straight away as we lived in York, and I didn’t immediately need to. But when I did do it, I caught the bug and went straight on to do my bike licence, and now, this is the last tick box – I want to be able to drive a lorry – I’d drive a tank if I could!”
Sally Wright, Head of Delivery at Nestlé UK & Ireland, and the driving force behind the new apprenticeship said: “We’re delighted to welcome Lucy as our first ever Nestlé HGV Driver Apprentice. The apprenticeship will enable Nestlé to develop drivers for the future, maintain a high level of service in a period of challenge across the haulage industry and provide apprentices with a unique and in-depth knowledge of our transport teams.”
Nestlé’s own fleet is a strategic part of its logistics operation and recruiting an HGV apprentice has been an ambition of the Nestlé UK & Ireland transport team for some time: “While we saw HGV apprenticeships coming along, they were for smaller vehicles and didn’t suit Nestlé’s needs. Now, the standard is in a place where the C+E HGV Licence can be done as an apprenticeship,” said Wright.
“Lucy, and the apprentices who follow in her footsteps as we roll this out, will spend time on the road with drivers, but also in our transport planning team so that they understand how we plan our transport, and more importantly, why we plan it that way."
Nestlé has been investing in apprentices for more than six decades, specifically in manufacturing and engineering roles, and currently has 190 people on 27 different programmes.
For those considering an HGV apprenticeship, Lucy said this: “100% do it. I know from looking before I got the apprenticeship and from other people who have wanted to do their HGV licence, it’s the financial aspect that puts you off. You would need thousands of pounds to do it straight away, as well as working towards it alongside an existing job, but the apprenticeship takes away some of that pressure.”
Nestlé UK & Ireland plans to roll out more HGV apprenticeship roles in future. To see what apprenticeship vacancies are currently available with Nestlé UK & Ireland, visit: Apprenticeships | Nestlé (nestle.co.uk).