Driver CPC training is exacerbating an acute driver shortage within the industry, with the situation likely to get worse as September 2014’s completion deadline looms, recruiters and training providers have warned.
Demand has been strong all year at Bigfoot Recruitment, according to training and compliance manager Simon Haines. “We’ve been flat out since January. There is a lack of good drivers. We’ve interviewed 70 people in the last six weeks and only taken five.”
Hauliers are increasingly only accepting drivers who have completed some or all of their CPC training ahead of the deadline, he added. “Employers will not look at you now unless you have a minimum of three modules.”
Richard Owen-Hughes, group marketing director at recruiter Driver Hire Nationwide, agreed that driver training was adding to the shortage: “There’s certainly a flight to quality, and employers are starting to see CPC training as a measure of quality.”
Recruiter Driving Force said it was struggling to find drivers to meet a sudden spike in demand. Operations manager John Sutcliffe said: “It really picked up two weeks ago. I could have 20 more drivers all out working now. “We are getting clients saying ‘get me three, four, 10 drivers for tomorrow’ . ”
Driving Force’s training partner Chevron is booked solid for the next three months for CPC courses, said Sutcliffe, warning that the approaching deadline would take more drivers out of their cabs and into the classroom in the coming months, adding to the shortage.
Owen-Hughes added: “I don’t think there’s panic yet, but there are people out there who have done absolutely nothing at all. “The maths tells you some people are going to get caught out. It’s going to be the last-minute [ones] who get caught out.”
A recent Interim Evaluation report into Driver CPC carried out for the Driving Standards Agency estimates drivers still need to complete approximately 700,000 to 860,000 training days before the 2014 September deadline.
In April it was revealed that foreign truck drivers who do not comply with Driver CPC requirements when driving in the UK will effectively only ever face a £30 roadside penalty – though UK drivers in the same situation could face fines of up to £1,000 as well as possible action against their driving licence.