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Mayor Dan Norris takes the wheel to celebrate the reigning success of Partner in Bristol’s HGV Skills Bootcamp 

The Government have initiated funding for ‘Skills Bootcamps’ with the aim to help people gain their lorry driving licence and aid them in finding employment. It doesn’t matter if candidates are unemployed or already in existing employment; the support is readily available for all.  
At City of Bristol College, our subsidiary Partners in Bristol are running lorry driving bootcamps and we are incredibly excited about our second Light Goods Vehicle (LGV) Skills Bootcamps.  
This has come to fruition after the incredible success of Partner in Bristol’s first bootcamp and there is now increasing potential to support even more individuals across the city and further afield. 
To celebrate the latest Skills Bootcamp and its reigning success, we invited Metro Mayor Dan Norris to our Motor Vehicle Technology Centre in Parkway alongside employers to curate a unique networking opportunity with our learners.  

As part of this, one of our on-site instructors gave Mr Norris the opportunity to take the wheel and manoeuvre a HGV, serving as a light-hearted introduction to the Skills Bootcamp. 
Talking of being presented with the opportunity to manoeuvre a HGV, Mr Norris exclaimed: “It was exciting; I quite liked it! One of the best parts of my job is that I am able to get involved in tasters of experiences, and today’s experience was great.” 

We also spoke with 18-year-old Stan Baker, who, incredibly, only gained his standard driving licence in January this year and has already secured a full HGV licence and is now working for Willmotts Transport.  
Talking of his journey, Stan said: “I started with a 3.5 tonne vehicle and then moved my way up to where I am today. Every day is a challenge with all of the different places that we go, but I really am learning new stuff all of the time.”  
For Stan, it’s quite the family affair; he explained: “My Uncle has always been in the industry, and my Grandad has always done it, so it runs deep in the family.”  
He continued: “Before this, I was at college, I did two years of business studies, and I was working part-time in a shop in Shepton Mallet where we live and then I knew that I really wanted to get into driving.  
“I did my driving licence in January this year and have progressed my way all the way up to where I am now.”  
Chris Baker, Logistics Director for Willmotts Transport added: “It’s the stepping stones, to take a large vehicle on the road is a lot of responsibility and at 18, the only thing you can’t learn is the experience; so Stanely has now been able to do that through the scheme. 
“We’ve secured the first part of what he needs, and as the company that employs him, we now need to bring him up through the experience so he can really get out there.”  

Talking of his own experience, James Gould, an ex-HGV learner who now works for Brakes, commented: “I was offered to do my HGV licence through wttl (our training provider); it’s been a bit of a learning curve. I was previously working for DPD driving vans, and then I came here to learn HGV driving.  

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do, my company offered me the opportunity to gain my lorry licence, and they funded it for me. I was going to do it beforehand, but it was trying to find the time to step out of work and do it myself. So, this was a great opportunity; it was a brilliant experience.” 
Rob Hazelton, Managing Director of Partners in Bristol, commented: “Dan’s visit was a brilliant opportunity for us to highlight and celebrate our HGV Bootcamps that Partners in Bristol deliver.  

“Our aim is simple, to combat the skills gap and positively drive the Skills Bootcamp initiative forward, placing highly-skilled workers where they’re needed the most.  

“It was our pleasure to show Dan around some of our facilities, and we extend our sincere gratitude to the wider support of Dan and the West of England Combined Authority and the championing of the Partners in Bristol Skills Bootcamps.” 
The previous bootcamp saw no less than 88 learners pass their driving tests, and every one of these were subsequently offered interviews, propelling them ever closer to joining the sustainable workforce. 

66 of these learners became successful in gaining LGV driving roles via our Skills Bootcamp employers, 11 became self-employed or joined our SWAP programmes at Partners in Bristol and the remaining were offered additional support by our dedicated advice and guidance team and their work coaches.  
This current Skills Bootcamp commenced in July with 83 learners and offers a multitude of pathways enabling learners to gain both LGV, HGV and trailer licences.  

So far, 18 have gained their licence, 15 of these have moved into new driving roles, and 3 have secured guaranteed interviews booked with our wealth of valued employers. 

For more information regarding Partners in Bristol, click here

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