For a while now we’ve been talking about the driver shortage, Brexit, and a lot of other issues that have kept the haulage industry in a state of near-permanent uncertainty. But rather than improving over time, the situation appears to be getting worse. This is one of the many reasons the officials of the haulage industry have decided to take action, and approach the Government for support. After all, the haulage industry is the backbone of our country’s economy – without it, a lot of other things start falling down. If that’s not worth saving, what is?
Both the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) met with the Department for Transport and the Treasury Department earlier this year, informing them of the need for new drivers in the industry, and asking for help finding a solution. Representing a common view in the industry, they stated that financing solutions were needed to help students and young people access HGV driver training as soon as they were old enough to hold a licence. They presented a number of options, including using student grants, loan assistance or creating a new incentive scheme – as long as the aim was the same.
The reason this meeting happened is something we have talked about before. As older drivers are retiring, there are not enough younger drivers qualifying or coming u through the ranks to replace them. This means with every month that passes, more jobs open up and more firms are left short of drivers – putting more pressure on both the firm and the remaining drivers. It’s fast approaching crisis point, and something needs to be done.
Like all good plans, there is a backup. If the Government don’t agree to direct funding, then the FTA and RHA have released a statement with an alternative. They suggest providing grants directly to road transport operators and haulage companies, which could then be used to train and hire new drivers. This shifts the burden away from individuals drivers and students, who may be struggling to afford the training needed to break into the field, and instead puts the emphasis on companies looking to hire new talent (and gives them the tools to do so). In reality, it’s no different to providing on-the-job training in any other industry – it just means firms will need to plan in that training time when hiring.
Whichever route it goes down, it’s clear that everyone involved now understands the dire situation the haulage industry is in. With the industry around 45,000 drivers short (with more gaps appearing every year), something needs to be done about the shortage, and soon.
Like learning any new work-based skill, training to become an HGV driver takes some money to do. But young people interested in becoming drivers shouldn’t be put off just because of the cost. That’s why it’s important to provide finance schemes and incentives to make training easier and more accessible to young people.
At The HGV Training Centre, we are firm believers in the idea that HGV driving should be for anyone. It’s one of the reasons we work so hard to create new offers and deals on training, incentives for employers to invest in training and even financial aid packages for independent drivers. We know how fulfilling and rewarding a career as an HGV driver can be, and we want to share that opportunity with as many young people as possible. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with us today.
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