GXO’s UK Driver Academy puts career development in fast lane

Mark Simmons, Senior Vice President, HR – UK&I  |  Juli 28, 2023

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This month, GXO is celebrating the 100  graduate from our Driver Academy. We launched this training program back in February 2022 to combat a critical shortage of HGV drivers throughout the U.K. and create opportunities for our team members to advance their careers and support our driver ranks.

A few years ago, the industry was facing a perfect storm — drivers were retiring in large numbers and EU nationals were leaving the U.K. following Brexit, causing a real shortage, which was exacerbated by the COVID pandemic. We all know how vital our drivers are in keeping the country moving in many sectors, such as grocery, food service, retail, drinks and technology, so we were determined to do our bit to attract and retain these valuable colleagues to support the national supply chain.

Alongside government initiatives, GXO developed the Driver Academy to upskill our existing workforce, offering new career opportunities and supporting our customers’ operations.

Life-changing experience

We originally launched the Driver Academy at three locations in the U.K. Thanks to the program’s resounding success, the hard work of the team and to accommodate growth in our transport business, we’ve now added a fourth. The course supports our customers by developing our own GXO team members, illustrating our commitment to being an employer of choice and providing excellent career advancement opportunities at every level. For many of the employees who have completed the training, the program has been life-changing, with some making a total career change from teaching assistants and chefs to drivers with our Driver Academy.

“I’m very grateful for the support I got from the Driver Academy in helping me pass my test and I’ve also enjoyed the Newly Qualified Driver program with the training team. I’m thrilled that I secured an LGV job once I’d passed and I’m so happy in my new role!”

Rockson “Rab” Asenso, GXO Driver Academy graduate

Rockson “Rab” Asenso, GXO Driver Academy graduate

Chelsea Aspinall, GXO Driver Academy graduate

Safety first

Team members can expect to spend about 12 weeks completing the program — registering, receiving a provisional license, undergoing a physical exam and completing the training. The first-time pass rate for the industry is 54%; however, GXO employees have an approximately 70% first-time pass rate, which we attribute to the high caliber of our colleagues and the quality of instruction in our program.

However, as part of our safety first culture, the training doesn’t stop when someone passes their test. We enroll our Driver Academy graduates in our newly qualified driver course, a three-month training program to build upon the skills they’ve learned with additional instruction and practice. This helps to build their confidence and ensure their safety, and that of others, is their top priority.

“I’m so thankful to the GXO Driver Academy. I was very nervous as it was my first experience in a big truck. I had an amazing instructor and could not have done it without him. He was so supportive and patient and pushed me when I doubted my ability. I’m so grateful for the opportunities the Academy has opened up for me.”

Chelsea Aspinall, GXO Driver Academy graduate

GXO has invested significantly in our Driver Academy, including the new Iveco fleet provided by our Northern Commercials business, to give our colleagues the best start on their journey to becoming a driver.

We’ve found that this extra attention to preparation boosts driver performance and loyalty — our retention rate is an incredible 97% — and it reflects our commitment to continuous improvement and employee development throughout our business.

I’m looking forward to hearing about the successes of our first 100 graduates from the Driver Academy and the ongoing success of the program as we scale up to meet growing customer demand for our transportation services.