Feature, Freight News, Logistics, Road, Sea

PD Ports gives students a taste of life on the road

[ November 3, 2021   //   ]

PD Ports has given six Stockton Riverside College students the chance to shadow its truck drivers in a bid to showcase careers in logistics and help combat the driver shortages.

Under the programme, developed by the college in collaboration with the Road Haulage Association (RHA), PD Ports and logistics providers Prestons of Potto, students will travel in an artic LGV alongside experienced drivers to gain an exclusive insight into life on the road.

PD Ports chief commercial officer, Geoff Lippitt, explained: “At PD Ports, we have long foreseen the potential issues around driver shortages as we recognised that drivers typically fell into an ageing demographic, leaving behind a huge skills gap. This programme demonstrates how, by working together, we can effectively challenge perceptions and offer invaluable insights into potential career paths.”

Over two days with their respective mentors, students gained an understanding of how to work with EU regulations, conduct pre-vehicle checks, load securing and handle the paperwork associated with being a driver all whilst travelling around the UK.

Following their placements, and upon successfully completing the course, which enables students to acquire their licences and a level 2 logistics qualification, students are also guaranteed an interview with PD Ports for full-time employment.

Gavin Straine-Francis, 42, was one of the lucky six to spend time on the road with PD Ports, and explained how the experience has left him looking forward to getting started. A former support worker, he said: “My dad was a truck driver and he suggested getting my licence a couple of years back. I think that planted a seed and now here I am.”

He added: “It was really good. The early start came as a bit of a shock but the drivers were all brilliant and were happy to answer your questions and share the benefit of their experience.”

Logistics team leader at Stockton Riverside College, Phil Dorn, added  “Although driver shortages are a ‘hot topic’ at this moment in time, we’ve been working with multiple local employers, stakeholders and the RHA for some time to raise awareness about the need to train the next generation of drivers.

“We passionately believe this type of collaboration is the way forward to deal with the training needs of the logistics industry in the region from the perspective of both potential employees and employers.”

The next cohort is due to start in February 2022. For more information, contact