National Apprenticeship Week Case Study: Longs of Leeds

With over 100 years’ history, Longs of Leeds is a fourth-generation family business.

The business is committed to providing quality road haulage, storage, and distribution service to all parts of the UK and in recent times has championed employing apprentices to continue delivering that quality service.

In fact, two of the longest-serving members of staff at Longs of Leeds both started as apprentices.

As the national driver shortage took hold of the logistics industry throughout 2021, Longs partnered with System Group to develop new talent through an LGV apprenticeship programme.

Lisa Featherstone, General Manager at Longs of Leeds said:

“We currently employ two LGV apprentices through System Group and we would like double that number by 2023. This is our third cohort of apprentices; training is a big part of what we do at Longs of Leeds and we’re always keen to aid progression.
Apprenticeships give people the opportunity to learn and gain qualifications to which they might not have had the opportunity in the past. It’s a great option to work, study, and gain valuable qualifications and life skills without feeling the need to continue with full-time education.”

The LGV Driver Apprenticeships delivered by System Group are 12-month programmes in which apprentices learn all aspects of professional driving as well as gaining their Category C and C+E licences.

During the training programme, apprentices will spend 20% of their working week off-the-job in training, this can be completed either on site with the employer or at home with online delivery.

Jamie Stonestreet has been an LGV apprentice with Longs of Leeds for 4 months, he said:

Before I started, I was working as a kitchen designer, because of the long hours at my job I didn’t have the time to complete any training or apply for my LGV licences. With an apprenticeship you get to do all of that while getting paid so it’s a real bonus.
I learn better on the job rather than just being shown something on a piece of paper so I think an apprenticeship is a great way to learn. I’ve enjoyed meeting different people and the way everyone has helped me out with my learning has made it a great experience.
So far, I have learned about receiving products into the warehouse, loading them correctly onto the trailers for shipping, as well as processing paperwork onto the computer and other office work.
I’m working towards my Class 1 licence and definitely see myself remaining in the industry once my apprenticeship is completed.

Leigh-Ann Barker was working for Longs as a Forklift Driver before progressing onto the LGV Apprenticeship, she said:

I chose to do the apprenticeship because I wanted to learn more about driving since I enjoyed it in the past and this would be a better way to work my way up to getting my Class 1 licence.
I saw the apprenticeship as a good opportunity with a good company and thought I could get something more out of the job by doing an apprenticeship rather than simply going for my HGV license on my own
So far, I have learned more about loading and unloading the trailers, warehouse work and the office paperwork for drivers finishing their daily jobs.
I think the apprenticeship will give me the opportunity to continue doing what I enjoy doing which is driving as well as giving me more knowledge on how to properly load my trailer.
In the future, I hope to be driving Class 1 HGV’s and be out on the roads travelling the country.

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