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Extensive coverage in Transport Operator Magazine

Industry calls for aid as driver shortage hits “crisis point”

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Driver Require's Think Tank and Report into the driver shortage crisis is extensively covered in the July/August issue of Transport Operator Magazine, 

As the shortage of HGV drivers reached what the Road Haulage Association (RHA) described as a “crisis point”, road transport industry representatives were warning of continued supermarket supply issues over the summer months and Transport Operator closed for press.

Extract from July/August issue of Transport Operator:

"...Elsewhere, the latest report from recruitment agency Driver Require’s Think Tank – The Answer to the UK’s HGV Driver Shortage – has estimated that over 150,000 newly licensed truck drivers aged under 40 have left the industry in the last decade.

The Driver Require Think Tank has members drawn from employers’ groups, transport operators, and other figures including senior employees or directors of companies offering leasing, training and consultancy services. It is led by Kieran Smith, CEO of Driver Require Ltd.

The report estimates that the cost of licence acquisition for each driver averages at around £3,000, meaning that potential truck drivers have wasted a total of over half a billion pounds in 10 years on licences that they do not use for gainful employment in the industry.

“It is shocking that all the good work attracting candidates is squandered by a lack of action to retain these drivers in the workforce after they have passed their test,” the Think Tank said.

It also warns that the ageing of the current driving workforce is seeing a net depletion of the number of working drivers of around 6,000 drivers a year.

In an earlier report (Transport Operator, June), the Think Tank outlined the seriousness of the driver shortage, in broad agreement with employers’ bodies such as Logistics UK and the RHA, and set out three strategies to address it: increasing UK driver training capacity, attracting UK vocational licence-holders back to the industry, and possibly permitting EU citizens to work as truck drivers in the UK.

It now says that the industry needs to ask itself, as a priority, “How can we fundamentally and significantly improve HGV driver retention to reverse the depletion of our HGV driver workforce?”

The Think Tank acknowledges that it is largely for the UK haulage sector to solve its own problems, but also says it should call on assistance from government and regulatory bodies. It wants funding for operators and training schools, or specially-created bodies, to nurture newly-qualified drivers. This could be associated with the HGV Apprenticeship Programme.

A much better understanding should be reached of why so many licence holders don’t drive for a living, it says, which could then inform ways of attracting certain groups back into driving. 

Funding could be made available for returning drivers to cover the cost of a refresher course, Driver CPC and lost wages, perhaps in conjunction with training schools, the report said; while inexperienced and returning drivers’ wages could be funded for their first few weeks to enable employers to bring them up to full professional standard.

It cautions that getting truck driving classified as a shortage occupation to allow drivers from the EU to work in the UK may not be effective, as there is a driver shortage in continental Europe as well.

“Underlying all the above is a need to dramatically improve working conditions for our HGV drivers,” it warns. “Significant investment is needed in truckstop facilities and roadside services, as well as the provision of secure and well serviced overnight parking facilities.”

The report suggested bringing the RHA and Logistics UK together “in an initiative to identify, document and publicise best practice examples of HGV driver engagement and retention by their haulage client members.”

Negotiating with insurers or representative bodies to reduce limitations on the age of HGV drivers, perhaps via a training or assessment route, was also posited – as was offering bus drivers the “ability to cheaply and quickly convert their category D licence into a category C (rigid HGV) licence”, thereby providing a fresh intake from the pool of bus and coach drivers who are currently not working due to a drop in public transport and coach operations.

The report – available at - also highlights a variety of research pertaining to the reasons HGV drivers may be abandoning driving as a career, from both employers’ and drivers’ perspectives. "


Thursday 29th July 2021

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