Britain's biggest transport skillionaires revealed15 August 2011

Students might think about a career in commercial transport, as research published by City & Guilds to celebrate WorldSkills London 2011 – the UK's biggest showcase of vocational skills for 20 years – reveals the riches accrued by transport and logistics magnates who trod the apprentcieships route.

The City & Guilds Vocational Rich List ranks wealth among those who have built their fortunes following an apprenticeship or other practical qualification. Defying the downturn, the seventh edition of the List shows Britain's self-made, vocational elite are worth a collective £17.6 billion – a billion pound increase since 2008.

Four of the 100 wealthiest 'skillionaires' in Britain amassed their fortunes in transport or logistics.

Topping the chart is Peter Dawson (position 19) owner of truck rental company Dawsongroup. With a personal wealth of £187 million, Dawson joined what was his father's haulage group in 1956, after serving an engineering apprenticeship.

He turned the Milton Keynes-based operation into one of the largest truck rental businesses in Europe, with profits last year of £19.2 million on sales of £145.2 million.

Dawson is followed by Andrew Tinkler (position 54), who runs Warrington-based Stobart Group and is valued at £54 million. A joiner by training, Tinkler started a house-building company in his own name in 1986 with just £500.

He diversified into rail engineering and track maintenance, and in November 2003, bought the Eddie Stobart operation, which has been built into a concern worth £339 million.

Sharing position 95 in the list are Frank Carter and Sir Moir Lockhead. Carter, worth £12 million, was the largest shareholder in bus operator Yorkshire Traction until its 2005 takeover by Stagecoach.

He started his career stripping down buses as an apprentice mechanic, before working his way up to general manager of Yorkshire Traction, where he led a management buyout.

Sir Moir Lockhead, now chairman of the Scottish Rugby Union, was chairman of GRT – the Aberdeen bus company that later merged with Badgerline to form First Group Plc – having first led the company through a staff and management buyout and a £49 million stock market floatation.

His entrance into the bus industry was as an apprentice mechanic in Darlington, where he studied mechanical engineering at the local College of Technology.

The List, independently compiled by Philip Beresford, author of the annual Sunday Times Rich List, will be welcome news to many, as it proves you don't need to be born rich to become rich. Now worth millions, 94 of the top 100 have made their way in the business world on their own merits.

"Our latest Vocational Rich List proves you don't need a degree to succeed," states Chris Jones, CEO and director general of City & Guilds.

"The List not only celebrates the success of Britain's leading business men and women, but also serves as an inspiration to others to discover their talent and unlock their potential through vocational education and skills training," he continues.

And he adds: "Many of the contestants at this year's WorldSkills London event have done just that, and I have no doubt that one day we will see some of their names on the List."

"You don't need to marry into money, appear on Big Brother or go to university to become rich," comments Aidan Jones, chief executive of WorldSkills London 2011.

"The City & Guilds Vocational Rich List shows all you need is talent and ambition to become the next 'Skillionaire'. The competition in October aims to open people's eyes and capture people's imaginations, allowing thousands to discover their career aspirations and show that you can achieve your ambitions through skills."

To see the full List or to find out more, visit: or

Brian Tinham

Related Websites

Related Companies
Eddie Stobart Ltd
First Group

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