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Posted in : Blogs on by : Joanne

CURRENT measures from industry and government will not be enough to tackle the looming shortfall of skilled drivers in the road haulage sector, says a new report.

In ‘Skills and workforce planning in the road haulage sector’, published by the Transport Select Committee, MPs warn that current thinking is not sufficiently targeted or wide reaching enough to deliver drivers fast enough to address the shortage, deal with future growth, or cope with the ageing profile of drivers likely to retire in the next ten years.

Haulage associations estimate a current shortfall of 45,000-60,000 drivers with another 40,000 due to leave the industry by 2017.

Evidence gathered during the inquiry points to particular problems in distribution, where 91% of companies surveyed by the Freight Transport Association reported difficulties in recruiting drivers.

The committee heard that many thousands of licensed LGV drivers choose not to drive professionally. A combination of factors is conspiring to keep drivers off the road, including the cost of acquiring a licence; lack of investment in drivers’ training; poor working terms; and inadequate roadside facilities.

The industry could look to under represented groups for new recruits. Figures from the sector’s own research reveal 92% of 400,000 or so people holding both an LGV licence and a Driver CPC are men. More than 60% of LGV drivers are aged 45 years and over (compared to 35% in the general working age population) around 1% of LGV drivers are under 25 years. The same report stated that only 9% of road haulage employees work part-time.

Chair of the Transport Committee, Louise Ellman MP, said:

‘This is not a new challenge. The road haulage sector has been short of skilled drivers for the last ten years.

‘Industry and government need to get their heads together and come up with a plan which focusses on recruitment and retention.

‘After years of under investment in the sector, let’s encourage skilled drivers back into their cabs by improving the image of the profession, revisiting pay and conditions and providing proper and secure facilities at depots and on the roadside.

‘Who are the drivers of the future? Let’s look to female drivers and young drivers currently under represented in the sector. Government and industry should review apprenticeships, reduce training costs and insurance, and demonstrate clear career progression.

Almost everything we use in our daily lives has, at some point, been transported by a large goods vehicle. UK PLC relies on them,’ said Louise Ellman.

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