September 16, 2021
It is well-known news that the haulage and logistics industry is experiencing a driver shortage during a time where demand for haulage services is increasing. This is putting the entire sector under extreme pressure, so many have turned to the Government to look for support.
Luckily, on 20th July, the Government announced a package of measures to support the logistics industry which we will look into further throughout this article.
Government Measures to Tackle Driver Shortage
Make HGV Training More Available
One way to increase the number of new HGV drivers is by increasing the availability of HGV training and testing. The backlog of driver testing is already being tackled by the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) by adding more staff to undertake testing, but the Government are introducing more methods to tackle this further.
The removal of the extra test requirement for driving car/van and trailer combinations is being considered which means more testing capacity would be available for HGV tests. Also, the ability to allow drivers to take one test for both articulated and rigid lorries would also streamline the process and increase availability.
Make HGV Training & Apprenticeships More Affordable
In addition to making training more available, there have been calls for making it more affordable too, so it appeals to more potential drivers. The Government have stated that they are currently reviewing financial support proposals to improve this.
They have revised the Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship standard, which is now available, with an increase in funding and further support. Also, there is a proposed apprenticeship called Urban Driver and a new standard called Transport and Warehouse Operations Supervisor which are both being considered.
Improve Driver Working Conditions
By improving driver working conditions, driver retention will consequently improve. This means that it is less likely that drivers will resign, so the shortage will not worsen. Driver working conditions are being improved in the short-term by implementing a relaxation to drivers’ hours, to increase flexibility and relieve some pressure.
As well as this, working together with other businesses and Highways England, lorry parking and overnight facilities will be enhanced by the Government. The quantity, quality and accessibility of roadside facilities are important to the working environment of HGV drivers and will encourage them to continue their career for longer.
Attract Returning Drivers
The Government and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) have shown their support to both returning drivers and jobseekers by promoting, advising and guiding potential employees to the haulage sector. Currently underway is a DWP driver training pilot as part of the wider Road to Logistics Scheme which will hopefully attract returning drivers.
Will These Government Solutions Be Enough to Help?
Over the last year, the significance of the haulage and logistics industry to the UK’s economy has been paramount. We are pleased to see this effort put in by the Government to help sustain such an important part of running our nation and we hope to see some improvement, especially with the Christmas period fast approaching.
At Cross Country Carriers, we recognise the prominence of community within this sector and we will do what we can to support other members. Our very own training system encourages and enables individuals to start on their path to becoming an HGV driver.
We introduce potential drivers into the business by letting their drive our fleet of new vans in order to get used to multi-drop deliveries. Then, when they are ready, we will move them up into Class 2 where we put them through their test. Once we get to this stage, we start recruiting for another van driver, repeating the process and seeing more drivers join our team and the community.
Contact us today to find out more about our company and what we can do for you.