Going out into the big wide world at the age of 23 to earn a living after leaving university where he studied Graphic Design as a bachelor of arts, did not prove easy for Chris Pearce, wanabe truck driver.
Since he was born Chris suffered with a hearing impairment and dutifully followed the academic route after leaving school to become a graphic designer following in his older brother’s footsteps. After completing his degree, Chris could not find any work as a designer but secretly harboured a burning desire from a small boy to become a truck driver.
Finally, he confessed this to his parents who were naturally very supportive, but also concerned about the success of his pursuit because they had not heard of any other drivers with a hearing impairment like Chris’s. They paid for Chris’s training to obtain his Class II licence at a cost of approximately £1,500 with a local training provider at the beginning of 2006.
Even after passing his test Chris still could not get any work after signing on with various different agencies because he was under the age of 25 years and had no commercial driving experience. To add to the hurdles, Chris’s hearing impairment could make communication tricky at times.
Chris went in to register with 24-7 Staffing, specialist driving recruitment agency in Chippenham and explained his passion to join the industry. Julian Thompson Managing Director commented:” It’s a real chicken and egg situation for many young people who want to join the industry because of the insurance restrictions for many clients on drivers under the age of 25 and finding the perfect match sometimes takes a bit of time. We needed to identify a client that was willing to give Chris a chance to prove himself and would also communicate with him by text message to overcome his hearing impairment when out doing deliveries.”
24-7 Staffing Driving Recruitment Consultant, Jo Weir, took Chris under her wing talking to various clients about his circumstances trying to find the right opportunity for him to get some experience. Just getting to work can prove to be a challenge for Chris and in order to make sure he gets up on time, he uses a vibrating alarm clock under his pillow.
Jo said: “His enthusiasm for the industry really shone through and he was in the office or on the phone every day asking for work. Chris didn’t just want a job, he wanted to be a real trucker and it was my job to find the right client for him to work with.”
Jo sent Chris in to work with Lee Butcher for Norman E Webbs in Chippenham doing a bit of van work to build his confidence and provide some basic knowledge of the transport industry. Chris then went into work for another client in Bristol doing 7.5T multi drop deliveries that was a real eye opener and gave him lots of confidence.
Recognising his good work, great timekeeping and reliability Lee wanted Chris back and approached 24-7 Staffing about a temp to perm position for him. Lee said:” Good drivers are not always easy to come by and Chris is so flexible, even with short notice he just gets on with the job. Although Chris is a great lip reader, we communicate by text message when he’s out and about, which is actually less open to misinterpretation. Not only has Chris proved himself to be a good driver, but he’s also offered to help with some design work for the company if he’s not driving, so I feel like we are getting even more value for money as a company.”
Chris starts his permanent position with Norman E Webbs on Bumpers Farm industrial estate in Chippenham on Monday the 20th November and is so thrilled with the chance to make a positive impact. He said: “For the first time, I feel really useful to someone and I am so grateful to the guys at 24-7 Staffing for helping me get a foot into the transport industry. I would eventually like to go and take my Class I licence, but for now landing a full time job for great local employers like Norman E Webb is all I could have ever wanted for Christmas!”