Rigside firm wins national award

JHP Transport has come a long way since it was founded with just two trucks by Rigside native Jim Prentice in 2007.

Initially operating from Townhead Farm, he moved to Shotts a year later where he started to build the business.

By 2016, he had increased the fleet to 14 vehicles and 20 trailers.

Jim always hoped to move back to Rigside and in 2016 that dream was realised when he purchased Townhead Farm.

Two years later, the firm secured the title of Scotland’s Top Chilled Distributor of the Year in the Transport News Awards.

Jim and his 130-strong team are now celebrating again – after securing Scotland’s Top Training Operator of the Year Award in the same awards.

That was secured thanks to the vision Jim had for bringing employment back to the Rigside area.

He explained: “My aim when coming back to my roots in Rigside was the potential to enhance employment in my home town and the wider Clydesdale area.

“Purchasing the farm allowed us to expand considerably and we now have 38 trucks, delivering ambient, chilled and frozen produce to supermarkets across the UK.

“It became clear that it would help young drivers and our business if we could implement some form of training so we started our Home Grown Drivers Scheme.

"To date we are proud to say that we have successfully trained 125 HGV drivers.”

With a shortage of HGV drivers, JHP Transport joined forces with Ritchie’s Training in Glasgow last year to launch a recruitment drive for trainee drivers, receiving over 170 applicants.

Jim (53) and his daughter Charlene Welch (31), who is managing director with the firm, vetted the applicants.

He said: “From a short list of 45, 36 have successfully completed their training and are out on the road with the remaining nine awaiting their test dates.

“We were delighted to receive Scotland’s Top Training Operator of the Year Award in the Transport News Awards.

“We are now looking to the future, full of optimism for JHP Transport. Our intention is to grow our fleet of 40 vehicles to 60 and increase our employees from 130 to 160 in the coming year.”

JHP Transport is also proudly a family firm, employing not only Charlene but her brother James (33), who is head of transport planning.

Jim’s wife Julia also works as an admin assistant but their children Ayda (7) and Nicky (6) are a wee bit too young yet to join the team!

JHP Transport was nominated for both awards by satisfied customers, making the success all the sweeter for Charlene.

She recently accompanied her dad to the awards ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow where they received the award from Wilcox managing director Vito Ronzano and presenters Des Clarke and Carol Smillie.

Charlene said: “We were delighted to have been nominated and were over the moon when we won.

"It’s nice to be recognised for the work that has gone in to the training programme; there’s a three stage interview process and a lot of administration involved with it, as well as on the job training.”

The award has now taken pride of place in the firm’s Rigside headquarters.