Programme:Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund
A recruitment platform for HGV drivers has seen a surge in demand amidst government efforts to encourage trained drivers to get back behind the wheel.
Avail Technologies is on target to double the number of registered users on its platform to upwards of 20,000 by the end of the year. The number signing up has risen sharply following a letter from the Department of Transport to the UK’s one million licensed HGV drivers, asking those who had stopped driving to reconsider, and including a link to industry body Logistics UK, which lists Avail as one of only five official recruitment providers.
Avail’s platform and driver app remove the need for traditional recruitment agencies for short-term contracts, allowing hauliers to reduce costs and drivers to earn more and comply with IR35 legislation.
Founded in 2018, the company is backed by NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance which is managed by Mercia and is part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund and raised £300,000 from the fund in April 2021. It currently employs five people at its headquarters in Stockton-on-Tees.
Steven Rogers, Head of Marketing for Avail, comments: “The Avail driver app is perfect for the current environment. It means that employers can simply post their job and it will be sent to all appropriate drivers, while drivers out on the road can receive notifications of new work and apply with a few taps of the screen.
“We were thrilled to have Logistics UK give us their seal of approval. The volume of signups suggests that there are many HGV licence holders out there who are actively looking for work. We are proud to be doing out bit to help drivers and hauliers navigate this difficult situation and get the supply chain working more efficiently again.”
Connie Smith of Mercia added: “Avail is revolutionising the way haulage firms recruit drivers for short-term contracts and is playing an important role in the current crisis. By enabling hauliers to recruit drivers remotely and reduce recruitment fees, it is helping to improve wages, entice drivers back behind the wheel and keep the nations’ shelves stocked.”
Sean Hutchinson at British Business Bank said: “Demand for HGV drivers has been building over recent years and Avial’s technology helps to streamline the recruitment process, saving haulage firms time and money. With the shortage of drivers coming to a head, Avail is providing an important solution to a UK-wide challenge. First backed by NPIF in 2018, Avail is a prime example of how important it is to provide Northern businesses with the means to grow.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.
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