Finding your feet after leaving the Forces

The transition into civilian life after leaving the Forces can be difficult.

Maritime Transport Ltd, one of the UKs largest container hauliers, has been working with service leavers over the past three years to ensure they have the support, the schemes and the expertise in place to make that transition as easy as possible.

As a growing business with 27 sites throughout the UK, Maritime have gained a fantastic reputation throughout the industry with both customers, and employees. As they’ve expanded, they’ve invested in their staff and equipment and are proud to offer their own in-house training and industry leading Professional Driver Scheme, aimed specifically at service leavers with a C+E Licence.

Passionate about recruiting the right people with great attitudes, Maritime introduced a work experience programme back in 2015 which continues to see success throughout the country, introducing ex-service men and women to both container and distribution transport, helping you to gain some experience before committing to fulltime employment.

“Our on the job training gives ex-service personnel the best insight into the job of a driver with Maritime,” said Gary Austin, Training and Development Manager. “Each of our depots are able to offer the experience, lasting between one and four weeks, giving those interested the chance to experience training with our driver trainers and our driver mentors before deciding if they’d like to be considered for our Professional Driver Scheme.”

The Professional Driver Scheme

Maritime’s Professional Driver Scheme launched in 2015 and has so far supported over 100 new drivers joining their workforce.

“As a business we’ve always recognised the skills service leavers are equipped with as they leave the forces,” said Gary Austin, Training and Development Manager. “Unfortunately, despite having the qualifications needed to become a HGV Driver, many service leavers found their lack of commercial experience meant joining large, reputable companies wasn’t all that easy. In order to help provide ex-service men and women with the experience and confidence needed on the road, on Ports and at customer sites, we created our Professional Driver Scheme and the feedback we’ve received in its first two years has been fantastic.”

Spanning the course of a year, the Professional Driver Scheme is a fantastic opportunity for drivers with little or no commercial experience to join an industry-leading transport company. In its first year, over 30% of those joining through the scheme were service leavers, many of which have seen progression into other roles within the business, including Aaron Cowan who is now a Fleet Controller at their award winning head office.

So what exactly does this scheme offer and why is it so popular with service leavers?

From day one Maritime provide each service leaver with a mentor who is there to help support them and teach them everything they need to know. The scheme has a structure and allows the employee, the mentor, the trainer and the driver administrator, to track their progress and ensure their ability, and confidence, grows every day.

Week 1 & 2

During your first two weeks on the Professional Driver Scheme, you will work no longer than 11 hours days. You’ll be introduced to your driver trainer and driver mentor and will spend time familiarising yourself with the depot and Maritime’s vehicles and systems whilst learning how to complete paperwork and daily vehicle and trailer checks. You’ll spend time driving with a driver trainer and mentor and week two will see you put into practice the skills you’ve learnt in week one as you take on local work.

Week 3

You will now get to drive on your own, following your driver mentor and visiting sites you are already familiar with.

Week 4

Your maximum daily hours will now increase to 13 and, after assessments, you’ll be planning your own start times and taking to the roads on your own. You will also spend some time in the office and gain a basic understanding of what goes on behind the scenes.

Month 2

During this month you are able to develop your skills and settle into your job as a C+E driver. You’ll be expected to take control of your day to day time management, your working time directive and your driver’s hours as well as being productive, punctual and reliable.

Month 3

Your daily maximum working hours will increase again to 15 hours. If you are hoping to become a tramper, or a night driver, you will start to experience nights out.

Quarter 2

You have now successfully completed your probation period and initial training and will move onto your chosen shift pattern.

Why choose Maritime?

As a business, Maritime are benefitting from the skills and strong work ethics already instilled in ex-service men and women. Their ability to learn new skills and have confidence in new and challenging situations makes them desirable in any workplace, particularly one which echoes many of the forces standards. In return for the hard work and dedication service leavers are showing Maritime. Maritime invest in them, offering in house training, top of the range facilities and equipment and take their commitment for the forces seriously. In 2016 they signed the Corporate Covenant and proudly accepted the Silver Award from the Ministry of Defence in recognition of their continued support for the forces community and, for the third consecutive year, Maritime have selected The Royal British Legion as one of their chosen charities, donating to the Poppy Appeal and placing a poppy on every single one of their vehicles throughout November to help raise awareness and increase support for the charity.

So, if you’re ready to make the transition, but you’re not sure driving will be for you, why don’t you try work experience with Maritime and then join their Professional Driver Scheme and become the best driver you can. 

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