Government announces HGV training for 4,000 new drivers
Up to 4,000 people are set to undergo training to become HGV drivers as part of the government’s plan to ease supply chain issues.
The Department for Education announced a £10 million package of investment to create new skills training camps and train 3,000 new HGV drivers.
The short, intensive courses will be free and will ensure that drivers are road-ready with either a category C or category C&E licence.
An additional 1,000 people will be trained via local educational settings that are funded by the government’s adult education budget.
The recent fuel crisis highlighted the issues with the supply chain, though much of that was exacerbated by unprecedented demand following news of potential shortages at some forecourts.
Part of the issue is drivers require further safety qualifications to be able to operate a fuel tanker, and the government is also looking to encourage more drivers to undertake these additional qualifications.
How will this help supply chain issues?
Given that the global supply chain is experiencing difficulties due to the impact of the pandemic, how much can new drivers ease the current pressure on the UK’s supply chain?
Industry experts in the food and retail sectors have expressed concern that if issues continue then there’s likely to be problems as we move into the Christmas period.
The government is aware of the issue, given that the UK is currently experiencing a shortage of around 90,000-100,000 HGV drivers.
That’s because of a combination of the pandemic, an ageing workforce and Brexit creating a perfect storm whereby there’s a lack of younger drivers to replace those that have left the industry entirely, either through retirement or changing jobs.
So, to ensure that drivers will be ready as soon as possible, the government has eased some aspects of the HGV testing regime, as well as increasing the capacity for more tests to be conducted.
While the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has deployed their Defence Driving Examiners (DDEs) to increase the UK’s testing capacity. The DDEs will work with DVSA examiners to provide thousands of hours of additional tests over the next 3 months.
What about Christmas?
Through the government’s temporary visa programme, 5,000 HGV drivers will be able to work in the UK for 3 months in the build-up to the Christmas period.
The government is hoping this will ease the pressure on the haulage sector and allow time for the driving training programme to kick in and for new drivers to enter the industry.
The global supply chain is experiencing a significant backlog with many countries still struggling with the pandemic, so it remains to be seen what the effect on the festive period will be.
How are you coping with the driver and supply chain issues? Are you confident in the safety of new HGV drivers? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org