The Freight Transport Association (FTA), the largest membership body in the UK logistics sector, has announced two West Yorkshire van drivers – Garry Walker of Wakefield and Kriss Asenov of Keighley – have been selected as finalists in the Van Excellence Driver of the Year contest.
Sponsored by Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, the awards recognise the skills of the British economy’s unsung heroes – the dedicated and highly skilled drivers who keep all sectors of business trading. Garry and Kriss have been selected as finalists due to their outstanding commitment, technical skills, diligence and compliance knowledge.
Garry is employed by Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust and Kriss is employed by J M Hall Couriers Ltd.
“Van drivers really are the backbone of the British economy, and it represents an excellent career option for individuals of all ages, background and genders,” said Mark Cartwright, Head of Vans, FTA.
He added: “Drivers need to deploy several skillsets on a daily basis, including problem solving, technical understanding, initiative and time management – as these finalists easily showcase – and this variety and challenge makes it an attractive option for ambitious individuals looking for a fulfilling career.
“These accolades are the cornerstone of FTA’s Van Excellence programme – a scheme to raise compliance levels and promote excellence – and we are honoured to be able to recognise and reward the individuals who are the embodiment of scheme’s aspirations.”
Steve Bridge, managing director at Mercedes-Benz Vans UK Ltd, said: “We are delighted to welcome such hard working drivers to be celebrated at our Northern facility, Wentworth Park. We are proud to support the finalists of this competition and contribute to the celebration of their work.
“We at Mercedes-Benz Vans are constantly striving for further driver efficiency and safety on our roads and are proud to work with the FTA on this event alongside our other aligned work throughout the Van Excellence Programme.
“We are excited to see the drivers put our New Sprinter through its paces, and explore the new technology and safety this vehicle has to offer.”
Along with the other fourteen shortlisted candidates, Garry and Kriss will be put through their paces during an intensive final assessment day at Mercedes-Benz Commercial centre in Barnsley, West Yorkshire on Thursday 19 July. He will face a series of rigorous test which cover all areas of their roles, including legislation, driving skills, risk assessment, and vehicle defection. The winning applicant will then be presented with his award.
The shortlist also features expert drivers from Asda, BT Fleet, Balfour Beatty, AAH, Greencore, Murphy Plant, The Clancy Group, Bott Ltd, Scottish Water, Berendsen, and Amey Fleet Services.