RHA and Close Brothers launch innovative apprenticeship scheme for transport SMEs

30th June 2017

The RHA and Close Brothers Asset Finance have joined forces to launch a pioneering programme to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) secure the skills they need for future growth by recruiting young drivers into the transport sector.

Through the ‘RHA/Close Brothers SME Apprentice Scheme – 20/20’, Close Brothers will contribute to the cost of apprentices for 20 SME members of the RHA (those with less than 20 vehicles) who might otherwise be unable to afford to take on a new apprentice Large Goods Vehicle driver under the age of 24.

The Partnership is part of Close Brothers Asset Finance’s long established commitment to supporting small and medium sized enterprises. With the support of the RHA, the Partnership will help SMEs recruit and train the next generation of Large Goods Vehicle Drivers. Under the scheme, Close Brothers will help pay for 20 apprentices to learn their skills. Close Brothers Asset Finance will fund half of the new recruits’ wages during the first six months and a quarter in the second, meaning participating SMEs won’t have to bear the full cost of employing the apprentices until they are making a positive contribution to their business. The first intake will be in September 2017.

An application form can be downloaded here . The closing date for applications is 18 August 2017. 

Member SMEs, those with less than 20 vehicles, will be required to employ an apprentice driver who is under 24 years of age, and be willing to allow them the necessary time to attend the theory and practical training which may mean time away from the business to complete the apprenticeship training.

The apprenticeship lasts for one year and will end with an End Point Assessment. More detail on the requirements can be found on the application form. Those selected to participate will be announced during National Lorry Week, 11th to 16th September and will commence training in October 2017.

For more information on the Partnership please contact Colin Snape, Deputy Policy Director at RHA c.snape@rha.uk.net

Richard Burnett, RHA Chief Executive said: “Right now the road transport sector has a massive 45,000 driver shortage and in today’s economic climate, many smaller operators simply cannot afford to take on apprentice drivers. This new initiative will go a long way to providing 20 companies with the funding they need to give them and the industry they service a real boost.”

John Fawcett, CEO, Close Brothers Asset Finance Transport division, said:

“We know from our work with transport SMEs that many would like to take on apprentices but they are worried about the cost, time, and resource involved. Britain’s transport companies urgently need to recruit and train a new generation of skilled drivers if they are to grow in an increasingly competitive market. We believe this pioneering scheme will provide genuine financial support to the SME sector.”

For more news from Close Brothers Asset Finance please click here.