22nd November 2021
For the Immediate Attention of All:
Parcelforce Regional Organisers
Area Distribution Representatives
JOINT STATEMENT BETWEEN ROYAL MAIL AND THE CWU ON THE CREATION OF A DRIVER ACADEMY APPROACH TO PROFESSIONAL DRIVER TRAINING
Further to previous updates and the continuous media attention, Branches will be all too aware of the current LGV/MGV Driver shortage affecting the whole of the UK Supply Chain. While Royal Mail tends to fare better than the rest of the industry in attracting Drivers the business is not immune to the effects of the current crisis.
In addition to the immediate problems, Royal Mail is also facing a potential time bomb due to the age demographic of the current MGV and LGV workforce, the average age in both categories now being in the mid-fifties age range. This has the potential to create serious resourcing challenges in the near future.
The department has been in discussions with Royal Mail throughout 2021 and Branches will recall that two LGV Driver Resourcing exercises have been agreed and launched since April 2021. This has created circa 670 Professional Driver roles through a mixture of internal progression and external recruitment. However, the balance in these exercises has been towards external candidates with only around a third of successful candidates being sourced internally.
To address this, the department has been in intensive discussions to launch a Driver Training Programme to reverse the trend and provide opportunities for CWU members across RMG to gain training for MGV and/or LGV Licences to enable progression to Professional Driver roles.
Due to the national crisis Government funding has become available to train candidates to LGV C&E standard as part of the Skills Bootcamp programme. To access this funding Royal Mail has engaged an accredited service provider, System Group. The involvement of System Group has resulted in the creation of bespoke training platforms for Royal Mail, which meet the requirement of the Government scheme.
From the perspective of the department the aim has been to ensure that the programme meets the terms of our National agreements and provides the maximum opportunity for internal progression. Discussions have however now concluded in an agreed Joint Statement on a Driver Academy.
The Driver Academy will have four distinct training pathways which will be delivered by Systems Group and Royal Mail, Advanced Driver Coaches (ADC).
1. Fast Track
Building on the response to the Driver survey launched in August, Fast Track activity will accelerate Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) training and upskilling to move candidates into Professional Driver roles. This process will also accommodate RM employees who attain their Licence externally. It will also seek to remove the internal cross functional barriers to progression.
2. Driver Career Path
Building on the success and experience of previous Driver Career Path activity, a 12-week programme has been developed for internal candidates who wish to progress to MGV or LGV Professional Driver Roles. The revised programme will align with the Government backed Skills Bootcamp initiative. This provides an expanded training offering including DCPC.
The programme will adhere to the processes and principles established in the 2017 Joint Statement on Driver Career Path Next Steps and Training Selection Principles.
The Driver Career Path – Initiative will be considered the standard training programme for internal candidates going forward to meet future resourcing needs. The activity due to commence in the new year will deliver 500 training places to internal Royal Mail Group candidates over two phases, with the aspiration to have new MGV and LGV Professional Drivers in place to meet the demand of Peak 2022.
The joint aspiration is that this ongoing program will enable the vast majority of future Driver vacancies to be filled internally as a result of the revised Career Path initiative.
3. LGV Apprenticeships
Building on the principles and processes defined in The Apprenticeship Approach section of the 2021 Joint Statement on Resourcing and Apprentices, activity has taken place with Systems Group to design an LGV Apprenticeship Scheme for Royal Mail.
The LGV Apprenticeship Scheme will be open to external candidates over 21 years of age and with 1 to 2 years driving experience and will offer the opportunity to join Royal Mail and attain the Apprentice qualification, a C&E Licence, DCPC and be ready to progress to a Professional Driver role within 13 months.
The initial pilot activity will consist of a cohort of 20 places nationally. The geographical deployment of the places will be the subject of agreement nationally. The Apprenticeship will include modular learning, driver training and on the job training over the 13-month period. The attainment of the LGV C&E Licence will be scheduled in the early months of the course.
Given the skilled role the remuneration levels for the LGV Apprenticeship reflect the nature of the role and the attainment of the licence. Successful candidates will on-board on an Apprentice rate based on the OPG Adult Recruit rate but will progress to an enhanced Apprentice rate based on 75% of the LGV C&E pay rate when they attain the LGV Licence. Both rates will include the LGV SWW pay addition. On successful completion of the course candidates will progress to a Professional Driver Role.
4. Continuous Professional Development
Given that the Government funding is likely to be short term it has been agreed that urgent discussions are required to enhance the role of the ADC. This will involve the creation of a Training Working Group which will focus on activities to ensure that ADC’s can deliver the DCPC requirement and occupational training.
In addition, the business have agreed to development opportunities to upskill some ADC’s to Driving Instructor standard to facilitate internal solutions to Driver Licence training going forward.
The Driver Academy programme will be subject to review by the National parties on a periodic basis. The first review will be scheduled to take place in June 2022.
The department believes that the Joint Statement on a Royal Mail Driver Academy is a significant development, which will deliver training for over 500 of our members within the first year and potentially start to address the significant Professional Driver resourcing challenges that the business faces.
Equally, we believe that the introduction of the Academy will be welcomed by our members many of whom would like to take the opportunity to progress to Professional Driver roles.
Further communications will be released to inform Branches and members of the processes for applying for the Driver Academy opportunities, however Branches are asked to ensure that the contents of this LTB are brought to the attention of our members across Royal Mail Group.
Any enquiries in relation to this LTB should be addressed to Davie Robertson, Assistant Secretary, email: email@example.com quoting reference: 216.01.