The Ahmadiyya Muslim community of Surrey and London have been praised for their work in helping to tackle the heavy truck shortage issues in the UK.
The community recently hosted heavy truck pilot projects at its 12,000-seat Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, its community’s national headquarters.
Fareed Ahmad, from Epsom, is the national secretary for foreign affairs of the Ahmadiyya UK Muslim community.
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He said: “Obviously there is a national crisis on the heavy truck side and it is having a significant impact on every aspect of delivery in UK life. So that was His Holiness [The Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, based in Tilford] who said we need to act and act, and do what we can to help the country when needed. That’s where it comes from. ”
He said the community has looked at what they can do and tried to understand the process of obtaining heavy truck licenses and how to become qualified for heavy trucks. Their plan was to bring the experts together in-house in one room as a one-stop shop for applications and recruitment.
They worked with the driving school which provides the training, as well as with the DVLA and the DVSA for support.
On Sunday October 17th, they held their introductory session, with around 500 people registered.
Presentations were made by the driving school on the requirements to become a heavy truck driver, and the medical aspect was also covered – talking about medical visits and what might require additional tests, with tests medical procedures carried out on the same day.
There were MPs from Surrey and London as speakers, as well as Marc Fels, Director of Heavy Truck Recruitment and Laurence Bolton, Executive Director of the National Driving Center, who made presentations on their areas of expertise.
One of the speakers was Chris Grayling, MP for Epsom and Ewell, who then told SurreyLive: “It was a fantastic event that people from all over the country attended. We need more weight drivers. heavy and the Ahmadiyya community is really trying to help fill in the gaps.
Only a very small part of the mosque community itself actually had heavy truck licenses, but they were able to help with all the administrative work as well as provide space for the event to take place. Fareed explained that there were 180 requests completed and sent to DVLA that day.
Once drivers are given provisional permits, they can access training and employment opportunities, and Fareed said they plan to host more such events, possibly in other regions of the country.
The Ahmadiyya community has held similar recruiting sessions in the past to find personnel for the police and armed forces, as well as to run vaccination campaigns and a “help a neighbor” program throughout the duration of the pandemic.
Rafiq Hayat, National President of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community UK, said: “Our community has a proud history of philanthropy stretching back over a century. The purpose of this exercise is to respond to the national crisis, to ensure that we play our part for the well-being of our country and to contribute to its future success.
“Serving one’s country is a key part of the Islamic faith, so it is our duty to do what we can to help. “
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