Ground-breaking Apprenticeship Scheme Announced by Road Haulage Association and Close Brothers
To help overcome driver shortages within the industry and to support its longstanding commitment to assisting medium and small-sized enterprises, Road Haulage Association (RHA) and Close Brothers Asset Finance have introduced a scheme where RHA members that have fewer than 20 vehicles can apply for funding to train and recruit the next class of HGV drivers.
Under this scheme, Close Brothers is paying for the training of 20 apprentices, which means that the hauliers that have signed up will not have to pay the entire cost of employing these apprentices until they are able to make a positive contribution towards these businesses.
Becki Quick, Meadley International Transport Ltd. Director said that her company was delighted to be able to take advantage of the apprenticeship scheme and that the employee they have chosen was excited. They feel very fortunate that they had been selected and wanted to thank Close Brothers and the RHA for this opportunity.
Large Skills Shortage in The Industry
RHA’s Chief Executive Richard Burnett said that the industry was faced with an enormous skills shortage, and with the impending Brexit, it appears the situation is about to get even worse. He added that the new scheme was ground-breaking and would help 20 of its members with recruiting, training and employing new drivers to help to reduce the shortage that the industry is currently faced with.
Recently in the media, there has been a great deal of speculation regarding the HGV driver shortage, the potential for disastrous Christmas delays, and a supply chain disruption within the post-Brexit supply era. Therefore, the RHA is keen on setting the record straight.
Richard Burnett, chief executive of RHA, says that currently the UK haulage industry is faced with a shortage of 45,000 to 50,000 HGV drivers and that the industry needed to face the challenge head-on. He added that with this short of drivers occurring all across Europe, that it is critical for the sector to do more to attract more drivers to the industry.
National Training Programme Developed
To help tackle this problem, RHA and the telematics company Microlise have created Road to Logistic, which is a national training HGV courses programme that has been developed to attract new talent into the logistics and transport industry from all parts of society where people need support and help for regaining their independence and self-confidence.
Road to Logistic has been created to assist companies with reducing their recruiting costs for bringing new talent into their businesses.
Also, the RHA and Close Brother Assets Finance launched a scheme to encourage RHA members having fewer than 20 vehicles to submit their applications for funding for recruiting and training the next HGV driver class. Close Brothers is helping to pay to train 20 apprentices, which means the hauliers that have signed up will not have to pay the entire cost of employing the apprentices until they start making positive contributions for their employers.
Richard Burnett added that businesses are looking for increased funding as well as clarity on licences that may be undertaken within the driver apprentice scheme. He said they need improved training schemes that provide greater flexibility when it comes to accessing available funding, particularly for small operators.
Burnett said that the effect that Brexit has had on the exchange rate has caused some HGV drivers from Eastern Europe to return to their home countries. Operators have been trying to assure their drivers that they still have a future working within the UK. He said that with this, in addition to an improved exchange rate and more certainty regarding residential rights, that they were confident that there would be a decrease in drivers moving back home.
Richard Burnett concluded by stating that the road freight sector would continue delivering the goods that everyone needs and that the supermarket shelves would not be empty, but that it is critical for the good of the entire economy to increase the supply of quality drivers.