Maritime Transport’s Industry Leading Driver Training

We speak to Gary Austin, Transport Manager at Maritime Transport Ltd, and find out more about their Driver Training, the Company ethos and hear first-hand why Maritime will invest in you.

As an employer of over 1,800 truck drivers, not one of which was able to commence employment with us without undergoing training irrelevant of the experience and knowledge they join us with, we’re passionate about ensuring each and every one of them is confident and able in everything they do.
To even be considered for a driving job with us, every applicant must be in possession of a full and valid C+E licence entitlement. This enables the applicant to legally drive vehicles with a capacity exceeding 3500kgs and a trailer exceeding 750kgs – in our world this means articulated juggernauts with a gross vehicle weight of 44,000kgs.
This is akin to a newly passed out recruit being given a tank to drive, a ship to sail or plane to fly just because they can now be called a soldier, sailor or airman. Of course this would not happen in your world, so why should it happen in ours?
I attended a recruitment open day at Colchester barracks a couple of years ago and a local transport company proudly informed the gathered professionals that they would guarantee anyone in that room that day a job.
When asked if that included convicted drink drivers, convicted drug drivers or those with a poor disciplinary record, their representative confidently answered ‘yes, yes and yes!’
If ever I needed a lesson in how to offend a group of highly trained professional individuals this was it. Even more alarmingly, this company’s representative had proudly started his presentation with reciting his army number from his serving days…
So why do we covet and pursue people like you to join our business? Quite simply; your outstanding professionalism and transferable skills.
Our industry has always been hit and miss with service leavers, with so many believing that a career driving trucks in civvy street is what they want to do because they ‘like driving’. Unfortunately, commercial driving is a brutal baptism into Civvy Street, with many having such bad experiences that they leave it double quick and, what’s worse, passing this onto their mates who are still serving and would maybe think twice about following this career path.
The law allows a commercial driver to work for a maximum of 15 hours per day for a minimum of three days per week (however, this can be six days a week if certain criteria are met on the other three days). So in effect, a 90-hour working week of which 56 of these can be driving and a daily rest break of nine hours and a minimum weekend rest of 24 hours. This can be done every week, LEGALLY. However, the good news is that on the second weekend you can have a 45-hour break. Oh and we don’t have ‘sports’ on Friday afternoons. Tempting isn’t it?
Thankfully what the law allows and what a driver actually does are two very different things.
At Maritime, we believe every employee is an investment; we learned that the work we put in at the beginning will save us work throughout that person’s employment. Also, that investment at the front end gives the employee a clear idea of their worth and importance to our business.
With our partner the Career Transition Partnership, we offer a very structured path into the industry and more specifically, a career with us.
We actively promote our work experience placements; we believe these are the perfect way to help you decide if this is the career, and industry, you want to work in when you leave. These placements, (you would need a valid C+E licence to be considered), can be anything from one to four weeks, during which time you get to do the job while under the expert guidance of one of our mentors.
These very popular placements let you ‘try before you buy’ and for the most part offer a full time position with our company at the end. Even those who choose not to pursue a driving career enjoy a positive experience and take the new skills learned from us with our compliments to whatever industry they end up in.
For those that do choose a career with us and are lucky enough to be offered a position, the training then starts in earnest. Our year long Professional Driver Scheme takes them on a journey to make them just that, a Professional Driver.
This scheme has been put together with service leavers strongly in mind, every single facet of the job and its associated skills are catered for, including the correct way of getting into the vehicle. During the year regular assessments are carried out by our highly qualified and experienced trainers with progress being recorded in a training manual. What’s more, we don’t penalise the trainee in terms of salary, they receive the same pay and entitlements to earn bonuses that our experienced drivers get.
So who gets what out of this approach? Well, we benefit because we know the standard of applicants from the forces. We train to our own very high standards from day one; this approach is very similar to the familiar environment they have just left. Our investment is rewarded by their loyalty to us, none of our service leavers have left to work for a competitor. We also believe in promoting from within and the skills you have learned in the forces will hold you in good stead as you progress within the business. Finally, we offer a familiar environment to help ease the transition from forces life to civilian life with many processes and procedures recognised but called by different names.
Training never stops though, we have a team of trainers based at all our depots along with mentors. Training takes many different avenues from a full day annual driving assessment and appraisal, to targeted training on a very specific area, classroom courses that enable drivers to gain further qualifications all the way down to over the phone coaching by vehicle manufacturer trainers.
Drivers and staff are actively encouraged to ask for training if they feel they can improve in certain areas.
The cherry on top of the cake is that all this training is reflected in the driving style bonus that all drivers are able to earn, paid annually, with some of the top drivers able to earn an additional £2,000 extra a year for doing nothing more than doing their job as trained.
Training is becoming a core part of our business more and more as we see the benefits, not just to our business but also our employees. We don’t just train for the benefit of our business; we also train skills that benefit the industry and community too giving the drivers life skills.
So by cultivating our existing work force, we know exactly the standards and skills each and every one of our drivers possess on the road each day, what the public and customers can expect from them and the knowledge that we have prepared and trained them in the best way possible.
This is reflected back in increased productivity, profitability and reputation that is the envy of many. And, we all benefit through this, our drivers have had a pay rise every year for the last 15 years. Our fully owned fleet of over 1,000 top spec trucks are no more than three years old, the depots they park in, for the most part, are owned by the company, the facilities our drivers enjoy in these depots are the envy of the whole industry. And in a backhanded compliment kind of way, our drivers are sought after by all of our competitors because of their professionalism and training.
A proud moment came for the company when it signed the Armed Forces Covenant, confirming our commitment to employing and supporting service leavers. This commitment has recently been recognised further with our Employers Recognition Silver Award from the Ministry of Defence awarded at the end of 2016 for our engagement with and employment of service leavers.
We are very proud of what we have achieved so far, but we have bigger ambitions going forward. As a privately owned company we do not have millions of pounds to throw at training, but what we do have is a belief in delivering good, effective, training that our business and employees need and most importantly, benefit from.