LANCASHIRE businesses are lining up to support the world’s first Truck Trail – a unique project celebrating the borough’s industrial heritage.
The Truck Trail, which will be unveiled in Leyland in April 2017, is designed to inspire a future generation of skilled workers while creating a striking feature for the town.
Snaking from Leyland railway station to the award-winning Worden Park – 13 6ft-high trucks, each with its own character and personality, will form an interactive trail.
The trail celebrates more than 100 years of truck manufacturing in Leyland and will take inspiration from the success of the Superlambanana scheme in Liverpool.
The trucks are all designed around a vehicle produced by Leyland Trucks since its inception in 1896, and boast names including ‘Super Hippo’, ‘The Comet’ and ‘Military Martian.’
Councillor Peter Mullineaux, Leader of South Ribble Borough Council, said: “The idea for the trail is absolutely fantastic – a dream for Leyland.
“Truck manufacturing is right at the very heart of the fabric of the town and sewn into its heritage – the very heritage which this trail will celebrate in abundance.
“We’re hoping to draw crowds from far and wide – offering a boost to the town and supporting our local businesses.
“We also hope to inspire a future generation with a full educational package which will run alongside the display. The designs will capture the imagination of children of all ages – even the big kids amongst us!”
The scheme is self-funding, with each truck being sponsored by a local business which will get their brand advertised within the design.
Part of the sponsorship money will fund an education programme in schools throughout the borough to teach children about careers opportunities in advanced manufacturing and engineering under the banner of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
The education programme will continue over a number of years and schools will be given resources and STEM volunteers will support delivery.
Schoolchildren will also be given the chance to design the 14th vehicle – based on the idea of ‘truck of the future.’
The winning design will be unveiled in front of the crowds at the Leyland Festival in June and will be given to the school to keep after the trail finishes in September.
The Truck Trail was launched at a business breakfast event, held at the Best Western Leyland Hotel on 18 November. Representatives of locally-based companies were given the opportunity to sponsor the trucks and have their brands advertised within the design.
Following the event, 11 of the 13 trucks have already been reserved.
Partner businesses will be promoted in extensive marketing and PR campaigns, which will run through most of 2017 in print publications, online and on social media.
Fittingly, Leyland Trucks and DAF Trucks were the first to snap up not one, but two of the landmarks, which are set to draw in crowds throughout the six months they are in position.
The trucks now be manufactured from a welded steel frame before being put on display in April – and the businesses that sponsor the trucks get to keep them after the Truck Trail finishes in September.
The iconic truck designs are the brainchild of Shane Friend, Managing Director of Leyland marketing firm Stone Create.
Mr Friend said: “The official unveiling of the Truck Trail at the business breakfast was one of the proudest days of my life.
“To see my initial idea for a Truck Trail come to life was incredibly rewarding and I cannot wait to see them all be craned into place.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for Leyland and one that I am incredibly humbled to be part of.”
The venture will link up with an education project that aims to encourage more young people to learn about engineering.
Helen Heggie, Director of STEMfirst, said: “The UK STEM skills shortage means it is imperative that employers and education work together to inspire the next generation, helping young people see STEM as a job for them and developing the key skills that employers will require from their future workforce.
“Truck Trail is a perfect vehicle for schools, employers, young people and their carers to get involved. This is an incredible opportunity for local employers to inform, inspire and educate the next generation about the career opportunities, skills requirements and businesses on their doorsteps.”
Ivan Shearer, HR Director at Leyland Trucks, said: “Leyland Trucks and DAF Trucks UK are proud to sponsor this exciting local community project.
“It is particularly pleasing to work with South Ribble Borough Council and STEMFirst to encourage our local education sector to develop their vision of what a future truck might look like, and in doing so we will help inspire the next generation of manufacturers and engineers.”