Moody Logistics and Storage is funding its own HGV driver apprenticeships to overcome delays that are hampering the government-backed scheme.

The family-run company has already recruited two driver apprentices who have begun their Driver Level 2 training with Tyneside Training Services.

Former delivery driver Tony Hunter, 24, joined the Cramlington-based firm in May and is preparing to take his test in October while Joe Chan, also 24, started in June and takes his test in September.

Managing director Caroline Moody took the decision to organise and fund the company’s own driver scheme after she was advised that reviews underway as part of the government’s 2021 Apprenticeship Reform Programme were causing hold ups.

She said: “As a logistics business, we can’t afford any delays in training the next generation of HGV drivers, so we took matters into our own hands.

“We have already recruited two driver apprentices and are funding all their training and HGV tests, having created a rigorous induction and mentoring programme that puts safety first.

“This approach means one of our own driver apprentices can gain their Level 2 licence within four months instead of the minimum 12 months under the government’s current scheme.”

However, the transport industry is still facing delays involving HGV licence applications and confirming test appointments.

The Road Haulage Association estimates there is a shortage of 100,000 drivers in the UK, up from 60,000 prior to the pandemic.

Tony, from Dudley applied through the government’s Kickstart scheme but was switched to Moody’s own driver apprentice scheme due to his previous experience as a delivery driver. Meanwhile Joe, from Morpeth, who previously worked in property management, wanted to leave his desk behind for a life on the open road.

Moody Logistics and Storage, together with its sister companies MCR Services and Heathline Commercials, have also taken on a further four young people through the Kickstart scheme.

The four new staff members are Ben Amos, 20 from Cramlington who has joined the admin team having spent five months traveling around Europe prior to the pandemic; Connor Birchall, 22 from Newbiggin, who has joined the warehouse team, having previous warehouse experience; Liam Hunter, 21 from Seaton Delaval, who joined Heathline Commercials after a temporary position with the NHS answering 111 calls ended, and Josh Johnson, 21, from Ashington, who has joined MCR Services, who has previous experience handling and sorting parcels.

Caroline added: “We are pleased to have recruited some very promising people that can help take this business forward, while at the same time providing them with the opportunity to progress their own careers.”