Driving Force

Encore to invest in driver development with dedicated in-house trainer.

Leading driving recruitment specialist Encore Personnel is set to heavily invest in its Driver CPC offering to tackle a backlog of training as a result of lockdown and to support its clients in attracting and retaining excellent drivers.

Encore, which operates 10 branches across the Midlands, including its head office in Leicester and offices in Nottingham and Derby city centres, has always ensured it prioritises driver training, of which the CPC (Certificate in Professional Competence) is a core requirement. It is planning to expand its offering significantly this year with the introduction of a dedicated, full-time CPC trainer who will offer extended training sessions throughout the week and at weekends.

The Road Haulage Association believes there is currently a shortfall of about 60,000 drivers in Britain. It estimates that some 30,000 HGV driving tests did not take place last year because of the Covid pandemic.

Senior divisional manager in Encore’s Driving division, Wayne Stroud, said: “We’re thrilled to announce we’re on the look out for our own in-house CPC trainer – a significant investment in our CPC training structure, given the intense pressures on the driving recruitment sector at the moment which have come about through a combination of Brexit, the pandemic and an ageing driver population. What’s more, it is essential to our ethos and values as a business that we prioritise the wellbeing of our drivers with regular, high quality skills development resources so they can enhance their career progression.

“We’d noticed that during lockdown drivers had fallen behind with their periodic training – which means there is now a huge backlog,” he adds. “We offered remote training but the reality was that drivers are more likely to attend in person – so we needed to address this immediately.

“We were always going to invest in our CPC training offering as we could see that additional capacity during the week and at weekends would benefit our drivers, in turn ensuring they continued to deliver an excellent, safe and efficient services to our customers.”

The Driver CPC is a qualification for professional bus, coach and lorry drivers. It was introduced across Europe with the aim of improving road safety and maintaining high standards of driving. Encore, which has just reported a record turnover during its busiest year to date, operates 43 profit centres across 32 locations and supplies more than 5,000 temporary staff per week to businesses across the region – many of which are drivers.
Encore became a JAUPT (Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training) approved training centre in 2013 in order to ensure its drivers would be fully qualified. The business also recognised the opportunity to invest in their drivers and how training their drivers would help with driver attraction and retention.

After two successful years, in 2015 Encore started delivering training to its key clients. Although still very part-time, by 2019 Encore was delivering CPC training to over 500 of its own drivers and had built up a customer base of external clients, delivering training to a further 300 drivers.

Managing director at Encore Pete Taylor added: “The pandemic has intensified what was already a very challenging landscape in driver recruitment. Brexit negatively impacted the depth of the talent pool of experienced and reliable drivers available to us, which combined with a diminishing number of drivers due to retirement, and an escalating supply and demand situation which is pushing up pay rates, meant we accelerated our investment in our driver training offering. This new CPC resource means we can confidently say we put our drivers’ needs first and are committed to securing for them the best jobs on the market, all under the umbrella of our Approved Driver Scheme.”

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