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Training Grant Helps Logistics Company Become A Class Of Its Own

Despite its humble beginnings – started in a spare bedroom by husband and wife team Steve and Diane Bridgen – Central Hub Logistics has developed into an award-winning business, even being named the nation’s winning Logistics HGV Heroes by the Road Haulage Association back in 2020.

Since creating the business in 2007 Steve and Diane have gained 36 staff, including 4 mechanics, plus a number of customers who regularly use Central Hub Logistics for their fleet repairs and servicing.

The founders of Central Hub Logistics, Steve and Diane Bridgen

Once the national driver shortage began to take effect, the business needed to train some of their current drivers to meet the demand as articulated lorry – or ‘artic’ – drivers. However, as there were no HGV training centres within fifteen miles of where the business is based in Tamworth, facilitating this training would be difficult.

Thankfully, last year there was a change in the law, allowing car drivers to undertake training to operate articulated lorries without the need to take an intermediary Class 2 test. This training doesn’t have to be given by a qualified assessor, meaning that Central Hub Logistics was free to train its own staff internally. However, Steve and Diane had their eye on a particular seven-day assessor course that allows recipients immediate access to the National Register of LGV driving instructors – the only register endorsed by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA). With the help of a Skills Hub Training Grant, Central Hub Logistics were able to gain the assessor qualification and join the register.

After training their own staff, the business started to use their qualification to benefit the wider community: they now train anyone who’s willing to learn, dubbing this area of the business their Central Training Hub.

A training vehicle used by the Central Training Hub

Diane told us: “For us it was amazing to be able to get the grant – thanks to the drop in income caused by the pandemic, we were years from seeing the training come to fruition; receiving this grant brought it forward to help us create a quality and qualified driver training school in the midst of the worst driver shortage the country had experienced.

It not only will result in helping the driver shortage, but should also inspire young people to enter the logistics profession earlier. The average age of an LGV/HGV driver is currently fifty-seven years old, but with things like Warehouse to Wheels Campaign apprenticeships –” (a scheme that allows apprentices to gain a Warehouse and Storage qualification before moving on to an LGV Apprenticeship) “– we are filling a much-needed gap in this area. We are getting calls from many either seeking to return to the profession or even young people at university completing the course during breaks in semesters. There have also been a lot of calls from drivers who currently drive vans and want to take the opportunity to give themselves a chance at a better income, as salaries have near doubled in the last two years for HGV drivers. We are investing in people to aspire and gain better employment prospects.

We could not have achieved all this without our grant. Thank you!”