The UK haulage industry is currently facing a shortage of between 45-50,000 HGV drivers and it is vital that the sector does more to bring people into the industry.
That is the view of the Road Haulage Association, whose Chief Executive Richard Burnett said the RHA, together with telematics provider Microlise, had created Road to Logistics – “a national training programme developed to encourage new talent into the transport and logistics industry from all sections of society where individuals need help and support to regain self-confidence and independence. Road to Logistics will help companies to reduce the cost of recruiting new talent into their organisations.”
In addition, the RHA has launched a scheme encouraging operators with less than 20 vehicles to apply for funding to recruit and train the next generation of HGV drivers. This will help to pay for 20 apprentices to learn their skills, meaning they won’t have to bear the full cost of employing the apprentices until they are making a positive contribution to their business.
Richard Burnett added: “Businesses are looking for improved funding and clarity on the licences that can be undertaken in the driver apprentice scheme. We need improved training schemes with greater flexibility over the access to the available funding, especially for the smaller operator. The Brexit effect on the exchange rate has resulted in some Eastern European HGV drivers returning to their homelands. Operators have been reassuring drivers that there is a future working in the UK. With this, more certainty of residential rights, and an improved exchange rate, we are confident that the drift back home will reduce.
“The road freight sector will continue to deliver the goods we all need, the supermarket shelves will not empty, but it’s vital for the good of the whole economy that we increase the availability of quality drivers.”