Veolia offers £1,500 sign on bonus to new HGV drivers in Southend-on-Sea as national shortage threatens collections

Veolia has announced a £1,500 bonus for Heavy Good Vehicle (HGV) drivers who join recycling and waste collection operations in Southend-on-Sea. Businesses across the UK are experiencing a drop in trained HGV drivers due to a combination of factors, including Brexit, Covid-19 and a testing backlog. The move is part of a comprehensive strategy to attract new talent and keep vital recycling and waste collections moving for communities. 

The company is also promoting the wider benefits on offer as compared to the common perception of HGV driving roles. Drivers have the opportunity to work locally as part of their community rather than the assumed long distance journeys and overnight stays. They will work in a small team with early starts and finishes that can more easily be fitted around school runs or other family responsibilities. Additionally, they will be helping the planet by supporting residents to boost recycling locally. 

The Road Haulage Association (RHA) were predicting a shortage of about 60,000 drivers pre-pandemic. They now estimate this to be over 100,000 across the UK. Veolia is reporting an average of 15% vacancy rates for driving roles and it is proving very challenging to fill this resourcing gap given the dynamics of this labour market. 

We hope the incentive will encourage drivers to consider working with us. People that I speak to in our business are passionate about what they do because our roles are different. Our teams are doing something that matters for communities and delivering a service that makes a real difference for the environment every day. We can offer part-time positions if wanted and a really good lifestyle – no overnights, no long-haul or overseas, so ideal for family time.

Darren Davey, 25, has been driving recycling and waste collection vehicles with Veolia in Southend for over 3 years. He loves driving and was inspired to become a driver by his dad who used to drive HGVs himself. After getting his licence, Darren started driving for an agency, delivering products to companies across London and East Anglia. 

Working at Veolia suits me better because the depot is close to my house and all my work takes place in the local area, so I do not have to drive through busy roads like the M25 and experience a lot of traffic. Thanks to this job I have gotten to know more of the local area, I probably know almost all of the roads of Southend now! In Southend we collect recycling and waste 4 days a week, so I have a three day weekend which I like as it leaves me some time to socialise and see my friends.

Having worked here for over 3 years now I have developed strong work relationships and it's nice to be working as part of a team and to be able to do our job in a friendly atmosphere.

It’s a very challenging role but I always feel rewarded when I complete my round and know I have been delivering an essential service for the residents.

I’d encourage anybody interested in becoming a driver to go for it, if you like driving then it will always be worth it, with an HGV driver licence you will never struggle to find work.
Darren Davey
HGV Driver

Cllr Martin Terry, Cabinet Member for Public Protection, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council said: 

“The national shortage of HGV drivers is causing problems for many different sectors, including recycling and waste collections. It is important potential drivers are provided with competitive benefits, so I am pleased Veolia are taking a proactive approach in maintaining their service for residents.”


Experienced drivers, newly qualified, or those looking for a change in career can apply here: Positions are also available within the Veolia Municipal contract in Harlow.