Published: 14 September 2015
The Transport Committee has announced it has launched an investigation into skills and workforce planning in the haulage industry to address the ongoing UK HGV driver shortage.
The committee will be looking in to what the government has or has not done to tackle the issue with a lack of professional HGV drivers.
They will looking at evidence provided by the DfT on:
The announcement has been welcomed by the industry trade associations.
Whether there is a shortage and the extent it is affecting the industry
The role of the government in recruiting and supporting a diverse workforce
The role of Driver CPC in improving industry employees; skills and professionalism
Aspects of government policies which may deter potential recruits
The conditions of roadside facilities for drivers stopping both during the day and overnight
Jack Semple, RHA’s Director of policy has said he is pleased with the announcement, but he believes there are still obstacles to the road haulage industry’s progress after the ‘’shambles’’ of the apprenticeship scheme which was rejected by the government last month.
He said: ‘’We think the questions they are asking are to the point. We also believe that the Department for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) is an obstacle in terms of progression and development of UK skills. Their management of the Trailblazer apprenticeship progress has been a shambles and their insistence that they will not fund driver licence acquisition has to change.’’
The RHA continue to press for a U-turn with regards to the government’s refusal to listen to their call for a form of driver licence acquisition funding.
Semple added that the government was doing nothing to tackle the skills shortage in the haulage industry despite its direct impact on the economy, and in spite of its own Home Office minister, James Brokenshire, recently lambasting UK businesses for being too reliant on foreign workers. “We agree,” said Semple, “yet they are doing nothing to encourage a change.”
The FTA have also voiced their support. They have been warning that the industry is facing a long-term challenge to attract and recruit enough professional drivers, and that the skills shortage in the logistics sector has reached crisis point.
David Wells, FTA Chief Executive, said: “FTA is delighted that the Transport Committee is going to investigate the lack of skilled drivers as this has been an important issue for our members who have been concerned about this for some time.
“In our recent conversations with MPs we have emphasised the real problems the logistics sector is having in attracting new recruits and suggested that Government and the industry need to work together to find solutions which enable us to keep delivering the goods for the UK economy.”
How to fill the skills gap and to engage, develop and retain staff is currently being featured within the current FTA Transport Manager Conference 2015 series, which includes a presentation focusing on plans for solving the industry wide problem with the driver crisis.