In December 2015, the Department of Business, Innovation & Skills finally gave its approval for the establishment of a Trailblazer apprenticeship programme for heavy and large goods vehicle drivers. A consortium of employers has been working on this proposal for over a year, having submitted two previous proposals which were not approved. The new scheme has had the support of the Road Haulage Association (RHA), the Freight Transport Association (FTA) and the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT). The Trailblazer apprenticeship programme is expected to increase the number of licensed HGV and LGV drivers and ease delivery work bottlenecks caused by the country wide shortage of drivers. |
Facts & Figures:
• 74% of haulage companies say that they have a chronic driver shortage. • 51% failed to take on new drivers during 2015. • 61% of employers regularly use agency workers or “empty load” services. • The average age for HGV drivers is 47. According to CILT, three of the main reasons for this critical lack of drivers available for delivery work include the public’s perception of the profession and industry, a lack of government sponsorship/financial support for industry led training and apprenticeship programs, and the high cost of obtaining an HGV driver’s license. RHA Wants More The RHA, whilst applauding approval of the new Trailblazer scheme, says that it is just the first step in the right direction. RHA CEO Richard Burnett said: “The approval of the LGV apprenticeship scheme is good news… however, it is essential that the apprenticeship includes the costs of licence acquisition. After all, licence acquisition lies at the very core of training new lorry drivers. An LGV apprenticeship that doesn’t cover the cost of the licence is like having a truck without an engine. At this stage, it’s just not clear if licence acquisition is covered by the scheme so we’ll be pressing this issue with ministers in the coming days”. Employers Gearing up for September 2017
With the new Trailblazer scheme expected to come into effect in September 2017, employers around the country are gearing up to develop new training programs and encourage the influx of new, younger drivers to take up HGV delivery work.
At the same time, the RHA has said that it will continue lobbying the government to allocate £150,000,000 annually for employers to fund training and license acquisition until the new program takes effect.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry across the UK and Europe. It provides services for matching delivery work and to buy and sell road transport and haulage work in the domestic and international markets. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
Related Articles -