Driver Shortage: The Urban Delivery Standard is a win for the industry, but more action is still needed
We’re calling for government to make training to be an HGV driver more accessible and more affordable, as we tackle the UK’s shortage of over 100,000 truck drivers.
Our call comes as Duncan Buchanan, RHA policy director for England and Wales, told Times Radio that work in the haulage industry is an attractive career for a lot of people, but that it takes a long time to get trained.
Around 40,000 HGV driver tests were cancelled last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. While testing has now resumed, the pace of the tests remains too slow given the shortage of HGV drivers currently causing problems across the UK.
Last week it was announced that, after relentless campaigning from the RHA, the Urban Driver Cat C Apprenticeship scheme has been been given the go-ahead by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, providing a new training option for drivers of rigid HGVs.
This new standard will give apprentices the skills needed to drive a Cat C or C1 vehicle through the urban road network and allow them to gain their C or C1 licence, and will make it easier to get much-needed lorry drivers on the road.
This is a fantastic step forward for the haulage industry, and something we have been campaigning for since the launch of the apprenticeship levy.
Similarly, earlier this year Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson confirmed that funding for C+E apprenticeships will increase to £7,000 from 1 July. This, again, will make it easier for new blood to join the industry.
However, there’s still more to be done to keep the UK’s supply chain moving, and ensure that goods can get where they’re needed, when they’re needed.
We laid out many of these necessary measures in our 12-point action plan, which was delivered to government earlier this summer.