Driver shortage: Government must make apprenticeships more affordable
RHA managing director Rod McKenzie has told Radio London that government must bring in short- and long-term solutions to tackle the HGV driver shortage.
We’re calling for government to make training more affordable, to allow the haulage industry to get more people behind the wheel.
Rod told Eddie Lester that becoming an HGV driver takes a lot of training, and that training is expensive to complete. It can cost anywhere between £4,000 to £7,000 to train an HGV driver, and this isn’t the sort of money that someone who is unemployed or is leaving education is likely to have.
View Rod's interview here.
This training takes several months to finish, and so even if thousands of new truckers began their training today, they wouldn’t be able to hit the road until some time in 2022. That’s why we’re calling for a limited, temporary relaxation of immigration rules to allow trained drivers from overseas to work in the UK in the meantime, to bridge the gap while that training is taking place.
Government has said that it’s down to businesses to pay for the cost of training new drivers, but most haulage firms are SME businesses, operating on around a 2% margin, and it simply isn’t feasible for them to take on this additional cost.
Truckers are essential workers, as was proven during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, and government should be taking the necessary steps to ensure that we have enough truckers to get goods where they’re needed, when they’re needed.
Changes to apprenticeships for HGV drivers are one of the actions in the 12-point plan we submitted to government earlier this year. View the full plan here.