08 October 2021
All roads lead to GTG for an international haulage firm’s new starts.
GTG and haulage firm Turners (Soham) Ltd have announced the beginning of an exciting new apprentice training partnership.
Turners (Soham) Ltd, headquartered in Newmarket, Suffolk, has a mighty haulage fleet of more than 2,200 lorries – and wants to continue to have the high-quality personnel to drive both their articulated vehicles, and to drive forward the business’ longer-term vision.
But while it must seem like the company covers almost every mile of motorway during a single year, it’s looking to GTG West Midlands to help future-proof that logistical reach, through the training of its driver apprentices after the announcement of a new training partnership.
Founded back in 1930, the Suffolk-based company has gone from strength to strength in the decades since, growing from a local distribution business to a multinational organisation boasting amassing a fleet in the thousands and sending its drivers across the UK, to the Republic of Ireland, and into Continental Europe, with a range of dry and liquified goods, as well as more hazardous substances.
Turners’ HR Officer Faye Andreou explained how the need for the partnership came about.
Faye said: ‘As we are seeing across haulage in the UK, we are driven by the fact that we need drivers. It is an ageing industry, with half of current drivers are over 50. That means there is a finite timeline and we need to attract younger drivers to the role.
‘There was a UK-wide shortage of around 60,000 HGV drivers before the pandemic, and what we’ve seen as a result of Brexit, with a real shortage of drivers from EU member states, means this driver deficit has gotten worse.
‘It’s important therefore that we future-proof our business and invest in new talent to introduce them to the role.’
Robert Young, who is Turners’ driver training manager at its Newmarket headquarters, described why the company sought out GTG to help train their future intakes of drivers.
Robert said: ‘As a business, Turners has grown massively. We have depots across the UK, and have tanker vehicles which regularly go to Europe, as well as refrigeration trucks which go to Ireland daily, on top of all our UK-wide services. Our reach sees us transport everything from fuel and chemicals to dairy produce, and powdered foods like concrete and sugar, as well as containers from sea ports.
‘When we met with GTG, we had confidence from the first meeting that they could provide the training we need for our apprentices.
‘This is partly because the facilities at GTG West Midlands are first-class, with modern vehicles provided for driver candidates to learn in. We know how much it costs to procure this sort of transport so we were very impressed by the investment that has clearly been made at the centre in Wolverhampton.
‘These impressive facilities are reassuring for us, because we know GTG are as committed as we are to getting candidates learning properly and passing their Category C+E certificates, the one which is required to drive an articulated lorry.
‘With this apprenticeship, the candidates will see everything; they’ll be in the cab shadowing time-served, experienced drivers and learning the right things in training with GTG.
‘That’s doubly valuable because the trainee drivers will get a true insight into what life can be like as an HGV driver. The hours can be long, the work intense, and working different shifts or being away from home and sleeping in your cab will inevitably impact your social life, there is no denying it. But we think those aspects are important for prospective drivers to see. Then we’ll know we have really well prepared and truly committed candidates.
Faye added: ‘We had a group begin training in June, while another will start their course in October. The training intakes will be in groups of no more than four, so that their contact time remains high.
‘It’s often said that the traditional training model for trainee drivers was “warehouse to wheels” but we want to give our trainees a wider view, with much more experience gained in terms of driving insights, and qualified drivers’ perspectives.’
Jamie Fraser from GTG said of the training centre’s partnership with Turners (Soham) Ltd: ‘When we first spoke with Faye and Robert it was clear they were passionate about partnering with the right apprenticeship training provider, one that could offer a solution to a need for a steady influx of qualified drivers to meet their expanding supply chain
‘Turners are looking for well-rounded individuals who understand their business’ core values, as well as seeking out the safest and most fuel-efficient drivers possible. Ultimately, like all organisations in this sector, they have an ageing driver population, and the goal is to introduce a younger more diverse workforce who will drive their company forward. Turners have been fantastic to work alongside and we are proud at GTG to be their chosen training provider for LGV apprenticeships. We are only at the start of this journey and we can’t wait to see the results over the next 18 months.’