RHA and Close Brothers launch innovative apprenticeship scheme for transport SME

RHA and Close Brothers launch innovative apprenticeship scheme for transport SMEs

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.

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.

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.”

RHA member SMEs must 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. Those selected to participate will be announced during National Lorry Week, September 11-16 and will commence training in October 2017.

More detail on the requirements can be found on the application form which can be downloaded here

The closing date for applications is August 18 2017.