Ensure we have a diverse, skilled workforce across the whole industry now and in the future. 

The skills shortage in the road transport sector is a chronic issue that continues to affect supply chains.  This has been caused by a perfect storm of an ageing workforce, the loss of EU drivers, and the economic shock caused by the pandemic. Today, we estimate there to be a 50,000 shortage of HGV drivers.

We are campaigning to attract new talent into the logistics industry by showcasing career opportunities, raising awareness of the skills shortage, and improving access to funding for training.

The HGV skills bootcamps that were introduced in 2022 have been consistently oversubscribed. We welcome the government’s renewed commitment to these courses. We continue to lobby the government to secure long term funding for the bootcamps as a viable alternative to driver apprenticeships.

The RHA is committed to working with training providers, the education sector and governments across the UK to make a career in logistics an attractive option for school leavers to provide the next generation of home-grown HGV drivers.

Last month, we launched our skills policy and campaigning paper – Recruit, Train and Retain.

The paper has 26 recommendations for both Government and industry to attract more people into the industry, boost retention rates and expand training opportunities.

After much campaigning, we welcomed a Government announcement that the funding band for the HGV C+E apprenticeship has risen from £7,000 to £8,000. This move is much needed given rising costs and inflation.

The mechanics shortage continues to be a serious concern and we are prioritising this by urging Government to add mechanics to the Shortage Occupation List as well as increase funding for the mechanics apprenticeship.

As a result of our campaigning, the funding for the heavy vehicle technicians apprenticeship was increased from £15,000 to £20,000. Whilst any increase is good news, this is still a real terms reduction and falls short of the £23,000 needed to make running the courses viable.

The RHA has long urged ministers to fully fund the apprenticeship to ensure it is viable to deliver. The number colleges and training providers offering the course had declined from more than 100 in 2010 to just 41 in 2023. This is despite a growing need for heavy vehicle technicians.

We believe the National Skills Fund should be opened to all levels of training and cater for the many occupations that require training to start from foundation level.  We are also proposing reforms to the Apprenticeship Levy to provide greater flexibility and access to a wider range of training options.

In the devolved nations, we continue to push for equal levels of funding for apprenticeships and equitable levels of funding regardless of an applicant’s age.

Our key asks on skills are:

  • A new T-Level in Logistics
  • Reform of the Apprenticeship Levy
  • Extension of the Skills Bootcamp
  • Reform of the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC)
  • Increased funding for heavy vehicle technician apprenticeships
  • Increased local skills investment in the industry
  • Confirm Ukrainian commercial licences are valid in the UK
  • Increased funding for Category D driver licence training
  • Plan for the green skills of the future