Greater Manchester veterans’ charity, Veterans into Logistics has proudly launched a fleet of three striking red, modern Volvo trucks with dynamic and eye-catching livery, thanks to Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland and Asda donating vehicles, and a generous £30k grant from the Veterans’ Foundation.

The charity will use the three Volvos to replace its existing vehicles to help around 150 ex-military personnel a year to train and qualify for new careers as HGV Drivers upon leaving the British Army, Royal Navy, or Royal Air Force.

Veterans into Logistics, founded in 2020 by former Royal Artillery Airborne Gunner, Darren Wright, has already transformed the lives of countless ex-service personnel by training and mentoring them to get their HGV licence and into new careers with their respected partners including Asda, Mϋller UK & Ireland and Stobart.

All three vehicles in the new fleet are high-quality Volvo Approved grade models selected from Volvo Used Trucks’ extensive stock. The trucks will operate predominantly in the North West of England, with both LNG-powered tractor units refuelling at Asda’s regional distribution centre in Rochdale. Veterans into Logistics is believed to be the first dedicated HGV training provider in the UK to use LNG-fuelled trucks, which reduce CO2 emissions in comparison with diesel.

Carl White, Used Truck Director for Volvo Trucks UK & Ireland said: “We heard Veterans into Logistics was looking for a new training vehicle and we wanted to help. After identifying the perfect truck, we set about preparing it as we would any Volvo Approved customer vehicle, with an intermediate service, tachograph calibration, comprehensive 200-point inspection, full cosmetic check, and professional valet. The two vehicles funded by the Veterans’ Foundation have since followed precisely the same preparation process.”

The Veterans’ Foundation £30k grant enabled Veterans into Logistics to purchase a second identical Volvo FH Globetrotter tractor unit and trailer, and an 18-tonne Volvo FL 250 rigid. The grant comes courtesy of its generous supporters, who, through donations, legacies and the 100,000+ playing the Veterans’ Lottery, have supported over 400 different charitable organisations all over the UK with almost £17 million in grant awards since 2016.

David Shaw, CEO Veterans’ Foundation said: “The Veterans’ Foundation is delighted to continue its support of Veterans into Logistics through this grant to help fund the purchase of new vehicles to train the military community.”

Chris Hall, Vice President Asda Logistics Services said: “We are proud to donate a trailer to Veterans in Logistics to assist with the ongoing training requirements, which will ensure we can continue to support the great work in helping veterans back into work. We are excited to continue our long standing partnership and initiatives with the charity, including giving access to their team to refuel their new fleet at our Rochdale depot using liquid natural gas and offering employment opportunities across our depots.”

John Harker MBE, General Manager of Veterans into Logistics said: “We desperately needed to modernise our training fleet. Volvo Trucks, Asda and the Veterans’ Foundation jointly stepped up at the perfect time – their generosity has been incredible and the charity is extremely grateful.

“The modern Volvo trucks will have a significant impact on our operational effectiveness and will enable the charity to continue providing HGV driver training to veterans and armed forces service leavers in a more environmentally friendly and efficient way.

“Our mission is to secure voluntary funds to provide HGV driver training for veterans, then guide them into well-paid careers with respected logistics partners. To accomplish this, we need quality training vehicles we can rely on. To say the new vehicles will be working hard for us is an understatement!”

British Army Veterans Abi Howard and Wez Thomson feature in life-size form on the rear doors of the training trucks. Wearing army uniform and their regimental berets, these striking images will inspire veterans and future Armed Forces Service Leavers to consider a career in logistics and show there is a bright future after leaving the military. Both Abi and Wez undertook their HGV driver training through Veterans into Logistics and now Abi works for Mϋller UK & Ireland and Wez works for Asda.

Abi Howard, from Elland in West Yorkshire, had served eight years in the Royal Artillery by the age of 24, joining up at the earliest opportunity after leaving school. She worked as an aviation operator, launching, servicing, and maintaining drones, but sadly was medically discharged after major knee surgery.

Within two months of leaving the army, Veterans into Logistics enabled Abi to undertake the required civilian Class 1 HGV driver training she needed and facilitated a new career for her with Mϋller UK & Ireland who are keen to recruit veterans into HGV Driver positions through the charity.

Abi said: “It was a real pleasure and lovely surprise to be asked by Veterans into Logistics to feature on the back of their new Volvo training trucks. It’s a privilege for myself and Wez to represent the great work of the charity and I’m looking forward to showing my family and my partner, especially as my dad was in the army for 22 years.

“I hope that when veterans and service leavers see us on the trucks, it will encourage them to contact the charity if they are considering a career in logistics. I can’t thank Veterans into Logistics enough. The charity has been absolutely amazing. Leaving the army was a shock to the system, I’d never even written a CV before and didn’t know how to.

“I really enjoy my new career as an HGV driver at Mϋller UK & Ireland and there’s a special camaraderie and banter between ex-forces colleagues. I’ve already recommended Veterans into Logistics to ex-army friends and would encourage any veteran to contact the charity. I’m so impressed with how quick the process has been and the support I’ve received.”

Wez Thomson from Littleborough, was the first of ten former military personnel to start a new job as an HGV driver with Asda, after the supermarket generously donated £40,000 to Veterans into Logistics in November 2022.

39-year-old Wez joined the British Army after leaving school in 1996 and served for nearly seven years, seeing active service in Northern Ireland and Kosovo with the Grenadier Guards.

Wez said: “I’m so happy that Veterans into Logistics has been given these trucks and I’m excited to see myself and Abigail on the rear doors. It was a real honour to be asked to do this for the charity and being able to show my wife and children.

“I am really proud of everything that Veterans into Logistics has achieved and the charity has changed mine and my family’s lives. I’m coming up to my first year working at Asda and I enjoy my work and get job satisfaction. I love driving the trucks and being out on the road. As a family, we have booked several holidays which we would never have been able to afford before.”