Drivers are helped get behind the wheel of a taxi by participating in a fully-funded training initiative to give a region’s economy a welcome boost.
The onset of the Covid pandemic saw many taxi drivers leave their jobs as demand for their services plummeted due to the closure of the hospitality and leisure industry and people staying at the House.
Many drivers have chosen to move into high-demand positions with delivery companies, but now a city has entered into a forward-thinking partnership to help bring drivers back into taxis and help businesses rebound.
Lancaster City Council is working with Lancaster and Morecambe College (LMC) training provider Inspira and other partners to fund free practical help and advice to help drivers start or restart their driving careers. Taxi.
The free taxi recruitment course, which is also supported by the Department for Work and Pensions, provides drivers with fully funded support with DBS checks, medical examinations, advanced driving test, license fees and also provides assistance with writing CVs and applying for vacancies.
Chairman of Lancaster City Council’s Licensing Committee, Councilor Colin Hartley, said: ‘Recognizing that there is a national shortage of private taxi and hire drivers and the vital role they play in bringing people safely where they want to be at all hours, we are helping the local taxi business recover from the aftermath of the pandemic by recruiting new drivers for the trade.
“Working in partnership with Inspira to encourage people to pursue careers in the industry with financial assistance as well as the support of our licensing team to guide recruits through the application process, the initiative has begun to show signs of success and the one where everyone really wins.
“People are getting jobs, the public can travel safely, businesses are busy, it’s helping to boost the local economy, and most importantly, thanks to everyone’s expertise, it’s all done without compromising public safety.
“Anyone interested in exploring the benefits of taxi driving as a career, and wanting to have an informal chat about what it takes to become a licensed driver and how we can help you, is welcome to call our licensing team on 01524 582033 or email [email protected]”
With funding from a central Covid recovery fund, Lancaster City Council has agreed to pay for the training of up to 50 area drivers, including Morecambe and Carnforth, to help them get out on the road.
The council has worked with partners Inspira, LMC and the DWP, to set up recruitment courses with practical advice and support to get drivers into taxi jobs.
A successful course has already taken place with over 30 drivers now on the path to employment.
A second course is launching on Friday 20 May, with the opportunity for more drivers – whether former taxi drivers returning to the trade or drivers who are new to the trade – to receive assistance.
Inspira works in all areas of Lancashire and Cumbria and specializes in getting people into work.
Victoria Emmett, Inspira Regional Operations Manager for Lancashire, said: “We are helping people develop the skills they need to get better jobs and working in partnership to help businesses and organizations fill the gaps. in terms of skills.
“This is a really exciting initiative to be part of and it is already making a positive difference in people’s lives and also in the life of the city.
Victoria Carter, Head of Engagement at LMC, said: “We have been running the four-day Taxi Driving and Private Hire course for over a decade, and this joint initiative with Lancaster City Council, DWP and Inspira has allowed us to reduce costs and provide more places for local people who wish to enter the sector, or refresh their skills and qualifications.
“The course is designed to support and enhance key skills and behaviors, covering all legal requirements and runs monthly, throughout the year.”
Kelvin Ellershaw, partner of Lancaster Taxis 32090-35666 Taxis, which operates 90 cars: said: “This is a fantastic initiative. It would be great if we could get more taxi drivers in Lancaster.
“The shortage of taxi drivers is a national problem. And now people are leaving, they all want to go home at the same time, and they don’t realize that they might have to wait because there’s a shortage of drivers.
“We could give jobs to at least 10 people and if this initiative helps find these people, it will be great for everyone.”
The free Taxi Recruitment Course, hosted by Inspira, takes place at The Storey, Meeting House Lane, Lancaster from 10am-1pm, Friday 20 May.
The course is fully funded for DBS checks, medical examinations, advanced driving tests and license fees.
Participants also receive support with CVs and applications for vacancies.
Anyone interested in booking should telephone 0345 658 8647.