Lorry donation to Suffolk HGV course hopes to help combat driver shortage

Suffolk New College

Viv Gillespie principal of Suffolk Rural, David Skerman from Seven Asset Management and Stephen Davis from Suffolk Rural - Credit: Suffolk New College

A nationwide contract hire business based in Ipswich has donated a £15,000 lorry to a college in Suffolk to help support training opportunities for apprentices.

Seven Asset Management handed the keys over to HGV technician students and staff at the Suffolk Rural campus of Suffolk New College.

Suffolk New College

Viv Gillespie and David Skerman with apprentice students at Suffolk Rural - Credit: Suffolk New College

The deal came about after Stephen Davis – an HGV apprenticeship technician lecturer at Suffolk Rural - reached out to the local vehicle management and hire company to see if they could sponsor the college.

After a tour of the campus – based eight miles north of Ipswich – the Seven Asset Management general operational manager, David Skerman, decided that a small sponsorship deal was not enough.

He said: “I started as an apprentice at the age of 15 and appreciate the life skills that this experience gave me. Seeing the current apprentices at the College made me feel we needed to do something to support them.

“There is a massive shortage of not only HGV drivers, but HGV technicians.

“Therefore, anything we can do to encourage the next generation is essential as without technicians, there are no trucks on the roads and therefore no food in the shops and no vaccines in the hospitals.

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"In my opinion, companies like us need to invest in our local colleges as what they do is vitally important to our industry.”

Lecturer Stephen Davis said: “This is a fantastic addition to our fleet. Thanks to this donation, our students will get to work and learn and take those skills back into the workplace.

"We are very grateful to David and Seven Asset Management for their support.

"Future plans with them include industry talks with senior figures who are working for the company. It’s essential that industry and education work together for the benefit of the economy and this project is a great example of this.”

Suffolk New College

Samuel Finch an apprentice at Suffolk Rural - Credit: Suffolk New College

Twenty-year old Samuel Finch is studying on an apprenticeship course at the Suffolk Rural campus of Suffolk New College.

The HB Commercial employee, said: “I chose to study on an apprenticeship as it’s a great way to get into industry, gain qualifications and progress your career. This (lorry) will be ideal for the course and my training development. The students and I are very grateful.”

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