Qualifying as an HGV driver in the UK is an incredibly exciting thing. But what if we told you that you may have chosen a career that’s not only rewarding, but could also include international travel to one of the world’s most beautiful destinations? If you’re up for a long trip, taking your new skills to New Zealand could be an incredibly lucrative move for you, all thanks to some recent regulatory changes that have left the country in a bit of a bind, driver wise.
Last year the government of New Zealand took decisive action, taking Class 5 drivers off the list of New Zealand’s skills in short supply among immigrants. This might seem like a small thing, but it’s had a huge impact among the haulage industry. In essence, the government wanted to discourage New Zealand haulage firms from hiring already licensed foreign drivers, and instead wanted them to focus on hiring and training indigenous homeless residents. Great in theory, except they forgot one very important thing. In New Zealand, it takes 3 years to train and qualify as an HGV driver.
So, this well-intentioned piece of legislation caused disaster. The New Zealand haulage industry of around 112 firms suddenly found themselves unable to operate at full capacity, robbed of their flow of new drivers completely. Even if every homeless resident of New Zealand had jumped at the chance and started training the day the regulations changed, there would still be a significant skills gap for 3 years. Representatives from the industry say that they need at least 400 drivers just to get things running properly again, and they simply can’t afford to wait the 3 years it would take for a new influx of indigenous drivers – the industry would collapse.
So instead they are hiring from wherever they can – including Europe, India and Asia. This has caused a problem for the politicians, since it has had the opposite effect than they wanted – more and more firms are hiring more pre-licensed foreign drivers than ever before. So their solution? To make it more difficult for foreign drivers to remain in the country once their one-year working visa expires. Now a foreign driver who wants to stay in the country long-term has no choice but to apply for permanent residency.
So while it is a long way and a bit commitment, you couldn’t ask for a more secure job prospect, or a bigger range of choices than the New Zealand haulage market right now.
Of course, it’s not just New Zealand who are struggling. The UK has been in the midst of a driver shortage for a long time now, though admittedly not nearly as severe or immediate as the above. Instead our shortage has been slow and creeping, gradually getting worse as the influx of new talent gets smaller and smaller.
But we do have one advantage over our New Zealand counterparts. HGV training in Britain only takes few months, or even a few weeks, rather than 3 years. This is one of the main reasons our haulage industry is somehow staying afloat – we can get new drivers qualified and on the road quickly. Plus, the pre-requisites are limited to having a full UK car license. If you have that, all you need to do is pass a medical exam and fill in some paperwork, and you can get your provisional license and get behind the wheel. From there you can train and take your theory and practical tests as quickly or slowly as you want, and know you have a wide variety of job options waiting when you pass.
If you would like to take your first steps towards a career in HGV driving, you’re in the right place. At The HGV Training Centre we pride ourselves on a nearly 100% pass rate first time for new drivers, with a team of experienced instructors and drivers on hand to pass on all of their industry knowledge, tips and tricks during training. If you would like to know more, just get in touch with us today.
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