The FTA have called on the Government to support logistics industry apprenticeships in its submission to the Transport committee’s investigation into skills and workforce planning in the road haulage sector.
The committee will be assessing the Governments response to the concerns from the logistics industry about the lack of qualified HGV drivers. The FTA estimate an extra 60,000 HGV drivers are needed across the country.
The deadline for submissions to the committee’s inquiry closed yesterday and the FTA, on behalf of their 15,000 members, have outlined the key problems
The FTA feel that the Government should make sure that, by 2017, the apprenticeships are in place to help encourage younger people to join the industry. They also want to see the 24+ Advanced Learning Loan extended to enable financial support to fund people getting their licence.
In a survey of their members, in July this year, more than 80% of organisations reported delays with recruiting permanent HGV drivers.
Almost a third indicated that they experienced long delays or were unable to fill vacancies and two thirds reported issues when hiring temp agency drivers.
FTA says more driver facilities are needed across the country’s road network. Local authorities needs to ensure that relevant industrial areas and business developments include provisions for HGV parking and adequate rest facilities.
Christopher Snelling, FTA’s Head of National and Regional Policy, said: “The Government needs to take urgent action to help the logistics industry tackle the driver shortage and attract younger people to the industry. Effective logistics are vital to the UK economy and it is vital that these issues are addressed before we reach crisis point.”
The FTA survey shows that 62% of HGV drivers are 45 or over, which is vastly different to the economy-wide demographics, where the population aged 45 years or older in employment is around 35%. Only 1% of employed drivers are currently under the age of 25.
The FTA’s submission also argues against any unnecessary increase in the regulatory burden on drivers and operators. They says industry and individuals need to be free, within parameters, to identify their own training needs. FTA is opposed to any mandating of elements of the Driver CPC syllabus - flexibility is key to making the training requirement as beneficial as possible.
FTA last month embarked on its first engineer apprenticeships with Gist in order to offer aspiring engineers the opportunities and experience to start their careers in the logistics industry without needing to attend university. FTA is working alongside Gist to ‘give something back’ to the industry.