There are hundreds of vacancies for lorry drivers in Staffordshire and elsewhere in the Midlands, figures show today.
Stafford and Sandwell have among the highest number of vacant positions in the country. In Stafford there are currently 443 vacancies compared with 272 at the same time last year. Meanwhile, vacancies in Sandwell have more than doubled to 670.
This is compared to 315 this time last year. JobCentre Plus said vacancies for heavy goods drivers across the country have rocketed, with 30,661 vacancies. The majority of the roles are concentrated in the Midlands and the north of England.
Road Haulage Association Chief Executive Geoff Dunning said the industry would grind to a halt without hauliers.
“The UK economy is hugely dependent upon the road freight industry,” he said. “Therefore now, more than ever, it is essential that we maintain a skilled workforce. UK hauliers, quite literally, deliver the economy.”
The minimum age for getting a licence to drive heavy trucks has been dropped from 21 to 18 to tempt more workers.
Employment minister Chris Grayling added: “There are tens of thousands of HGV driving jobs available across the country right now and it’s a sector that is likely to further expand over the next few years. But just having the jobs available isn’t enough, we need to make sure people have the right skills.”
Warrington holds the most vacancies in the country with 806 jobs.