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The rationale for the development and provision of this programme is a direct response to the industry need, a well-documented driver shortage and the Apprenticeship Council commitment to delivering the first apprenticeship for the profession of driving in Ireland.

The ATU Sligo offering aims to meet the growing demand for heavy goods vehicle driving personnel and is targeting two market segments.

  1. School leavers with either a Leaving Certificate or a Post Leaving Certificate award; and
  2. Existing employees in the transport & logistics industry who may not have a formal qualification.
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Looking for more information on the Transport Operations & Commercial Driving Apprenticeship?

EU/EEA law requires that commercial HGV drivers have both a HGV driver’s licence and a driver’s Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC). To keep a CPC valid, a driver must also complete a periodic retraining course of at least 35 hours every 5 years, taken in 7-hour tranches. Such qualifications when granted to an individual within the EU/EEA are mutually recognised within the EU, i.e., once a HGV driver is qualified in an EU/EEA country, they can work in any EU/EEA state.

A Transport Operations & Commercial Driving Apprenticeship will complement the successful attainment of the full HGV licence (C + EC) with academic training in core modules that will facilitate a holistic understanding of the requirements to operate a commercial vehicle safely as well as specialist knowledge in key disciplines that will benefit the career development of the driver when matched with practical experience. Also, the apprentice will develop an understanding of the supply chain. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the rules and obligations of drivers to ensure safe operation on the road and appreciation for other road users.

The Demand for the Transport Operations & Commercial Driving Apprenticeship To aid the demonstration of the industry need the Addressing the Demand for Skills in the Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics Sector in Ireland 2015-2020 report, published in 2015 was referenced and it has found that, due to an anticipated expansion in the sector and the replacement demand for those employed in core Freight Transport, Distribution & Logistics occupations that some 13,500 to 15,500 job vacancies could become available over the period 2015-2020.

Some of the findings in the EGFS report include the following:

  • Recognition that a large number of new drivers will be needed due to the age profile of the current drivers in Ireland and looking at the demand scenario analysis for 2020.
  • Job vacancies in the FTDL sector expected to rise for two main reasons: the performance of the FTDL sector is expected to grow (accounting to 60% of job vacancies) and the numbers resulting from replacement demand needs (40% of job vacancies).
  • 18% of respondents reported difficulty in recruiting HGV drivers with the required licence.
  • In addition to the quantitative needs identified in the report, it is also noted that there is a qualitative need, i.e. the sector has a poor career image, does not attract women and does not offer access to broader career opportunities in the logistics sector of the economy.

Sources: EFSN Report February 2015, National Skills Bulletin September 2016, Regional Labour Markets Bulletin October 2016, Monitoring Ireland’s Skills Supply November 2016, Regional Skills Dublin Partnership for Skills May 2017.

This report has now been supplemented by the establishment of the Logistics and Supply Chain Skills Group that has delivered its first update report in December 2020 titled: Logistics and Supply Chain Skills Group Annual Progress Report. The primary aim of the Group is to work together with the industry and education providers to better support the promotion of careers, skills development and sustainable employment in the Logistics and Supply Chain sectors in Ireland. The two major themes of the group are: Labour Supply and Skills Development. The Group’s Work Programme forms the framework for two industry/academia-led subgroups focusing on

  1. Occupational Profiles and Educational Tools and 
  2. Best Practice and Continuous Professional Development.

A significant endorsement of the proposed Transport Operations and Commercial Driving Apprenticeship is that it has the support key professional and regulatory bodies that support the sector.

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Representatives Associations and Employers from across these sectors collaborated to develop a programme to meet the needs and requirements of Businesses at both Multi-National to SME level. Industry specific knowledge is delivered to Apprentices, focusing on core modules (hyper-link to Apprenticeship page that lists Year 1 and Year 2 content) and provides a broad understanding of the industry and working relationship across each sector.

Choosing to take on Apprentices can bring benefits to Business in many forms such as fresh enthusiasm with new Employees, entering with new skillsets and fresh perspectives.

Apprenticeships can also increase staff levels with the benefit of lower recruitment costs and leading to professionally qualified staff at the end of the programme, that’s support a culture of professional development.

What is required for an Employer to provide for an Apprenticeship?

A minimum of a 2 year employment contract (salary determined by Employer)
Suitable role within the company and dedicated workspace to carry out the role
1 day per week release to attend ATU Sligo for Academic Studies
Employer facilitates the On Road Driving Lessons
A workplace Mentor to support the Apprentice and ensure that the Apprentice completes all work based and academic goals as part of programme (training provided for this role)
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Employers wishing to proceed to provide an Apprenticeship placement should contact the Freight Transport Association of Ireland (FTAI) [01 8447516 or email ] to register their interest and complete a short assessment, outlining the requirements of the Programme.

FTAI will then arrange for a SOLAS Authorisation Officer from the Employer’s area to visit the workplace and complete a short Employer Suitability to Train Apprentices Form.

Looking for more information on the Transport Operations & Commercial Driving Apprenticeship?