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.
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.
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.
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: https://recruitment.great-careers.co.uk/veolia. Positions are also available within the Veolia Municipal contract in Harlow.