Gist ups the ante for driver recruitment

Basingstoke, UK: Gist is offering incentives of up to £5,000 for HGV drivers to join its business from August in order to boost capability and resources to deliver chilled foods and fresh produce.

Gist, with customers including Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Morrisons, employs more than 2,000 drivers, and runs driver training schemes.

New drivers joining Gist now have the potential to receive a bonus worth up to £5,000 through a combination of a £2,000 sign on bonus and up to three additional retention payments for continued service.

Gist’s drivers are some of the best in the industry, having won a number of highly competitive data-driven Microlise awards, including winning the long distance driver of the year for two consecutive years, and the prestigious Driver of the Year 2020.

Gist is also addressing the nationwide driver shortage by training new drivers through its Driver Training Programme, offering training at its bespoke training centre which opened in October 2019, and following Covid guidance will reopen in September. The centre features a static vehicle for training new drivers and a driver drop-in centre to support those re-training to become Class 1 HGV drivers.

Julian Bailey, managing director, Temperature Controlled Logistics, Gist, said: “By offering this substantial incentive, we’re hoping to entice experienced drivers who may have recently retired or moved to alternative careers back into the industry, and in the longer term, we’re hoping to encourage younger people to consider driving as an attractive career choice that offers great benefits.”

Training is being undertaken by new employees through driver training apprenticeships as well as by existing Gist employees who are changing career from warehouse operative to HGV driver

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Agata Makowska, a recent graduate of Gist’s internal ‘Warehouse to Wheels’ apprenticeship scheme, has won Young Driver of the Year 2021. With just a year and 10 months of driving experience (and a total of three years working for Gist), Agata joined Gist to work in the warehouse, and joined their internal driver apprenticeship scheme to train as a driver. She now travels across the south of England performing up to ten deliveries a day, delivering milk, fresh and ambient products to retail stores. Agata’s reliability, conscientious and professional behaviour has ensured that she has developed a really positive relationship with her customer.

Agata Makowska

Agata would love to see more young women enter the profession: “Every day is different. I never know what to expect on the road – it keeps you alert and busy. To win this award sets an example to all young drivers, that regardless of gender, and with the right training and encouragement, you really can thrive in a fast-moving environment like this and pursue a successful career as a driver”.

Luke Caswell started at Gist working in a warehouse then joined the company’s internal Warehouse to Wheels scheme to gain his Class 1 and Class 2 licenses. “I wanted a new challenge and I wanted to see the other side of logistics,” he says. “Getting my licence wasn’t easy, but if you put your mind to it, you can do it. I love driving. I love the freedom of it, and I love the flexibility of it. It can feel like being your own boss but it’s also a really supportive environment.”

Luke Caswell

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In the August issue of Cold Chain News, out now, Gist reveals that it is offering incentives of up to £5,000 for HGV drivers to join its business from August in order to boost capability and resources to deliver chilled foods and fresh produce. bit.ly/3z6j8Si #coldchain

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