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National Apprenticeship Services...

We are associated with the Skills for Logistics branch of the National Apprenticeship Service and e are constantly recruiting new apprentices to work in the Haulage and Transportation industry. We always have various positions, including in Vehicle Mechanics, Large Goods Vehicle Drivers and Traffic Management.


As a winner of Apprentice Employer of the Year  by the Learning and Skills Council Cumbria, The Wm Armstrong Group know that modern apprenticeships are a great way to learn and expand the true potential of an individual.


The award identifies and recognises the company as a provider of opportunities for progression within an industry racked with driver shortages.

Jennifer Whyberd, Managing Director said: 'The recruitment and training of the young people taken on board has been a real success and we are proud of both the apprentices and the training programme that has been developed. Our collaboration with our local training provider, System Group, is providing proper jobs and training for some of Cumbria's young people.'


The Drivers Apprenticeship Scheme develops a range of skills: an apprentice can be driving a 44 tonne vehicle at 18 years of age.

The majority of employers agree that Apprenticeships help them to improve productivity and be more competitive, as well as providing on the job knowledge and skills for the recipient.

"Apprenticeships lead to improved staff retention, saving valuable time and money which would ordinarily be spent on recruitment and training."
Steve Whyberd, Training Manager, Wm Armstrong Group


Thomas Pattinson left school at 16. Unsure that more classroom learning was right for him, he was delighted to be offered an apprenticeship with Wm Armstrong Group
read on to find out more...

Thomas really enjoyed his training. At 18, he was already an experienced, qualified fork-lift truck driver, had passed his car/van driving test and was one the youngest people in the country to gain his Category C Driving qualification to drive rigid lorries.

Initially a very quiet and shy young man, Thomas's confidence grew rapidly along with his skills. Compared to his peers, he felt he had a more responsible job, and was envied by his friends because he passed his driving test without cost and earned a good wage.

"They think it's unreal," he said at the time, "because I have my own car already and get to travel around, and my wages go up as I progress with the company. When I'm fully qualified I will be earning between £20,000 and £24,000 per year - not bad for someone under 20!"

"I really like learning on the job," Thomas said. "You gain a lot from being with the other drivers. I was a bit worried at first about what the classroom side of learning would be like but the NVQs are all about real work and we only attend classes at System Group for 2 half days study each month. Now I've got my portfolio of work which shows exactly what I can do and I have just successfully completed the Foundation stage of the Apprenticeship."


"Having our own trained assessor on site at the Company has been great," Thomas explained, "because we get assessed as soon as we are ready. Each unit gets signed off in my portfolio, or I get feedback quickly if something isn't right so I can work on it straight away."

Twelve years later, Thomas is still driving for Wm Armstrong Ltd. He has been a fully-trained Livestock Driver for nine years now, and coming from a farming background has been a bonus in terms of animal handling and their well-being.


Getting the Key Skills component right has been important for both System Group and Wm Armstrong Ltd. Initially the teaching material was insufficiently rooted in practical, transport related topics, but after listening to the trainees and working closely with Armstrong's assessors apprentices find it challenging and relevant. Learning from material such as tachographs, maps, fuel records and delivery itineraries, the trainees develop literacy and numeracy skills and sort out real problems and issues.

Wm Armstrong Ltd are also pleased that the Key Skills are rooted in industry practice and see the benefits of enhanced speaking, listening and number skills in drivers' relationships with customers, supervisors and in their teamwork.


Learning provider recommended by Thomas:


SP Training

Scafell Building

Carlisle Airport Business Park
Cumbria CA6 4NW
Tel 01228 530552

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