I joined the Co-op on a temporary contract in 2014. Since then, I have been lucky enough to have multiple roles and opportunities. From warehouse operative to class 2 driver.
The thing I enjoyed most about my warehouse operative role was working with the team, who I’m still friends with now. Four months into the role, I was offered the opportunity to move into a transport support assistant role. Being the first time I’d worked in an office environment. I wasn’t sure if it would have the same kind of team culture, but I got on great and grew to know lots of drivers by helping to organise their days as part of the role.
After a few years working in the transport office, I applied to join the driver apprenticeship scheme. Being around drivers all day had made me interested in what they did, plus I was looking for a new challenge.
I was fortunate to be successful and joined the apprenticeship in May 2019. The programme is aimed at helping colleagues get their truck license and giving them the skills needed to perform in role too. Initially it was full time learning which involved a lot of theory based learning. I also spent a couple of months buddying up with other drivers, who acted as a mentors and taught me a lot.
Hitting the road
Once I passed my HGV class 2 test and got my truck licence in July, I continued with the classroom and on the job training for another 3-4 weeks and then I was able to hit the road! Since August last year, I’ve been driving solo, and have a few days every month where I do the classroom training.
I love being a driver, and it’s such a change from office work. It was of course, a little daunting at first, but the training was incredible. I’ve had so much support from my manager and mentors. I feel like a Co-op ambassador when I’m driving our branded lorries throughout the country.
I’m proud to say I won the ‘Outstanding Intermediate Apprentice (Level 2) Award’ category at the RateMyApprenticeship Awards, which is amazing. My manager put me forward for being one of the top-performers at the depot. But I honestly feel it’s my driving mentors who deserve the recognition, I’m the driver I am today, because of their teaching.
Throughout my career at the Co-op, they’ve been great at supporting me get where I want to be. I haven’t spent a single penny on training and would highly recommend the driver apprenticeship scheme to everyone. If there’s an opportunity to move into a class 1 apprenticeship scheme, I would grab it!