FTA had highlighted the shortfall of over 45,000 HGV drivers and has long been calling on Government to support the industry in solving the issue.
The problem has now been recognised in the Skills and workforce planning in the road haulage sector, published by the Transport Select Committee, which highlighted evidence submitted by FTA where 91% companies surveyed reported difficulties in recruiting drivers.
In the report MP’s have warned that current thinking is not sufficiently targeted to deliver drivers fast enough to address the huge shortage of truck drivers – a message strongly supported by the FTA.
Sally Gilson, FTA Skills Policy Development Manager said: “We are pleased to see that the Transport Committee has listened to FTA’s concerns – as this is a problem that isn’t going to solve itself.
“We strongly agree with the Committee and its calls for Government to provide more support, and with the need for better roadside facilities for drivers. This is especially important if more women are to be recruited – currently only 1% of HGV drivers in the UK are female.”
According to the FTA Logistics Report 2016 more than 64% of truck drivers are over 45 – the average age has steadily increased over the past 15 years – and problems with filling vacancies are high on our members’ list of priorities. This has been compounded in recent years by the consequence of economic growth and the huge rise in e-commerce. Lack of funding for vocational training for drivers means fewer are joining the industry and there is a real risk that the shortage of HGV drivers could severely impact the economy.
Gilson continued: “FTA has held driver and skills shortage summits to explore solutions and is working with various groups including students and service leavers to raise the profile of the industry and make a career in logistics more aspirational.”
In addition FTA has said it strongly supported the Committee’s call for Government to provide “clear, accessible guidance on skills, funding and support, employer standards, regulation and insurance for young drivers.”
One of the biggest barriers to licence acquisition if the cost of training, FTA has been calling on Government to provide a suitable loan system. The current Personal Career Development Loan option is not appropriate and a simple change to allow Level 2 qualifications to be included within the 19+ loan would provide the quickest and best solution.