As the last few months have clearly shown, the UK faces an acute driver shortage with an estimated deficit of around 85,000 drivers. This has been caused by a perfect storm of an ageing workforce, the loss of EU drivers, and the economic shock caused by the pandemic.
Taking direct action to redress the situation, Somerset haulier C&D South West has announced plans to support the RHA (Road Haulage Association) Skills Campaign which launched this month. The campaign is designed to deliver against four core objectives:
- Attract new people into the road transport industry, highlighting the wide-ranging career opportunities available and RHA apprenticeships on offer;
- Retain Road transport employees by improving working conditions and training requirements;
- Raise awareness of the skills shortage and actions that can be taken to address it;
- Improve access to Government funding to support training.
Lorna Hammond, Managing Director of C&D South West, said,
“We’re proud to be supporting the RHA through a number of initiatives that will evolve over the months ahead.”
As a part of the effort, C&D South West is already undertaking a number of initiatives, including encouraging applications from all genders that are interested in joining the industry to apply for one of several available places at its C&D Driver Academy.
Established in 2016, the Academy has already successfully trained more than 20 HGV drivers and is set to train an additional 6 drivers between now and the end of 2022.
“We are committed to working with the Government, training, and education providers to make a career in logistics an attractive career for school leavers – creating the next generation of homegrown drivers. We face an acute driver shortage in the UK, that without further action from both Government and industry risks putting the brakes on our economic recovery.
“Hauliers and logistics businesses play a critical role in keeping our country moving, with 89% of all goods transported by land moved directly by road, including 98% of all food, agricultural and consumer products. It’s imperative that our industry is both supported and protected and, by supporting the RHA Skills Campaign we’re doing our part to make sure that goods arrive exactly where and when they’re needed.”
The UK government has already announced plans to help to tackle the shortage of lorry drivers by creating an extra 50,000 lorry tests. The decision followed a public consultation last year, which saw thousands of respondents, including industry leaders, support the move as a positive step to help the sector tackle the lorry driver shortage currently affecting countries around the world.