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A haulage firm is tackling skills shortages by sourcing talent straight from school.

John Bowles, Training Officer for A&D Logistics, said the challenges of driver retention forced them to become creative about finding new talent. The Johnstone-based firm started recruiting Modern Apprentices straight from school. 

John says: “The pool that we can source drivers from is getting smaller. There is a reduction in the amount and the quality. The more experienced drivers drive the way they have been driving for years. But a resistance to new ideas makes my job very difficult.”

However, he says the Wood Commission for Developing Scotland’s Young Workforce, which led to the Scottish Government’s Youth Employment Strategy, opened doors for him.

“The Wood report was the catalyst that allowed me to go into schools and talk to teachers. I wanted to tie in with our three local schools and had a great contact at Renfrewshire Council, who was really helpful. I went to a training provider, said this is my plan, can you do this? They said yes and we were able to get money to help develop the programme. I went in and told the pupils about logistics and haulage and was welcomed with open arms.”
John Bowles, Training Officer, A&D Logistics

Haydn Stewart, 17, a former pupil at St Benedict’s in Linwood, and Fraser Ewington, 17, who went to Johnstone High, are first-year apprentices. Our Skillsforce caught up with them on week one of their apprenticeship.

Fraser says: “I didn’t know what job I wanted to do. I put my name forward and it has worked out really well for me.”

Josh Montgomery, 18, who is in his second year, is one of nine apprentices in total taken on by A&D Logistics over two years.

He says: “I stayed on for sixth year, but I knew I had a job at the end of it.

“Before I started the apprenticeship I was coming in for work experience a couple of hours every week. Now I want to get out on the road.”

John seems visibly proud of his new band of apprentices.

“These are my future drivers, owners and managers. Without lorry drivers we don’t have a company. The Modern Apprenticeship Level 3 Driving Goods Vehicle is a really good qualification, really relevant to my industry, and it will benefit the apprentices in the future.”
John Bowles, Training Officer, A&D Logistics

What's next?

Find our more about how to Take on an Apprentice.

Offer work experience to pupils and students.

Ensure recruits are job-ready through the Certificate of Work Readiness.