The Hunt’s Drivers Academy was established in 2000 by Transport Manager Pete Hancock, a Hunt’s legend with 29 years continuous service before retirement in 2015. Before this Hunt’s Frozen Foods operated with predominantly 7.5 tonne lorries that were single compartment only carrying frozen goods. In the early 2000s the company moved into selling chilled goods, before setting up a butchery division in 2003 and moving into ambient goods and drinks in 2008. This required larger multi temperature vehicles and in 2000 Hunt’s purchased some “X-reg” 15 tonne vehicles.
Hunt’s ran with a few HGVs (Heavy Goods Vehicles) prior to 2000, however these had been used predominantly on the public cold storage side of the business. The Hunt’s Driver’s Academy was created to upskill drivers, put them through their HGV, provide progression opportunities and enable the Hunt’s transport team to drive larger vehicles.
Hunt’s have always possessed a team first philosophy looking to promote from within, therefore our drivers understand the companies’ values and customer expectations. In 2003 Hunt’s purchased their first tractor unit and therefore added Class 1 (Category CE) licences to the driver’s academy, today the company runs 6 tractor units that cross dock stock between depots and most of the drivers have progressed through the academy to be in the driving roles they are today.
In 2009 all lorry drivers were required to have CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence) qualifications to improve road safety and maintain high standards of driving. Since the introduction of CPC training Hunt’s have partnered with Yeovil based Transolva Limited who carry out all our training to this very day. Phil Bond (Transolva Managing Director) mentions “Hunt’s are fully committed to driver training, emphasised by the company paying all costs for their team to be trained. I work with Phil Hopkins (Hunt’s Transport Director) and his team to ensure we deliver detailed, relevant sessions and ensure myself and my team regularly visit all Hunt’s distribution centres to meet with drivers and access performance”.
The Driver’s Academy has also put many individuals through their Transport Manager CPC Level 3 qualification allowing these people the time off work to study and achieve the qualification. In addition to putting team members through their car test enabling them to drive 3.5 tonne vans.
Phil Hopkins (Transport Director) mentions “having completed my Class 2 (Category C), CPC training and Transport Manager CPC Level 3 through the Drivers Academy I am very passionate about upskilling our team; the drivers are the face of Hunt’s and it’s important we continue to invest in training and development”.
On the 31st January 2020 Luke Kershaw had completed every stage of the Drivers Academy, Luke started picking in the warehouse in 2006, before driving vans, then HGVs and then more recently passing his Transport Manager CPC Level 3 and becoming Operations Manager at the Bridgwater Depot.