91% of companies have been reported to encounter difficulties in recruiting drivers. The HGV driver shortage is a problem that has been growing for the past ten years and looks to get even worse by next year, as 40,000 more drivers have been suggested to leave in 2017.
But with a 45,000 – 60,000 driver shortage already, what is being done about this rising issue?
Louise Ellman who is the chair of the Transport Committee has released a statement on how she wishes to tackle the shortage. She states that the average over 45, white male HGV driver “needs to adapt” and looks to “the drivers of the future” a.k.a. women, Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) and young drivers to be incorporated into the industry.
The cost of obtaining a licence and the general negative stigma surrounding a haulage career are just a few reasons why potential employees are reluctant to join the profession and so Louise suggests that “if people are unwilling to work in the sector, it is up to industry and Government to change perceptions”.
As the industry continues to look for the Government for help, especially for funding towards improving driver skills, this expectation could be challenging. In return, the Government suggest that it is in fact the industry’s problem, as they need to erase the negativity surrounding a HGV driving career before moving forward.
In order for the haulage industry to progress, this conflict needs to be extinguished and as Louise points out, it is up to both parties to help improve the working conditions (along with other areas) which will help in recruiting new drivers and retaining them.
Hope isn’t completely at a standstill, however, as Corporations like Freight Transport Association have already begun to help with the process by introducing schemes such as the Trailblazer Apprenticeship. The scheme essentially uses Government funding to help young drivers obtain their licence and begin their career. Encouragement through apprenticeships like these is a big step in the right direction to put an end to the crisis.
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