Being dedicated to the support of small and mid-sized enterprises, as well as recognising the need to overcome driver shortage has led Close Brothers Asset Finance, along with the Road Haulage Association (RHA) to announce a scheme where members of the RHA, with fewer than 20 vehicles, can apply for funding with the plan of recruitment as well as provide Driver CPC and practical training for new HGV drivers.
The scheme will mean that Close Brothers will assist in the payment of 20 apprentices who will learn their skills, this, in turn, will mean the signed up hauliers will not need to fully pay for the apprentice employment until they are already at the point of positively contributing to the business.
The Director of Meadley International Transport Ltd, Becki Quick said that they are very happy to be able to take upon this apprentice scheme and that the employees they are thinking of are truly delighted. She noted that they feel fortunate to have been selected and are grateful to the RHA and Close Brothers to have given them this opportunity.
RHA clearly outlines the driver shortage problem
The Chief Executive of RHA, Richard Burnett said that within the industry there is a massive skills shortage and that with the thought of Brexit ahead it seems like things will get worse. The scheme is ground-breaking and by helping 20 of their members in the recruitment, training, and employment of new drivers a real difference will be made in reducing this challenge.
The media has seen much speculation of late regarding the HGV driver shortage and the chance of Christmas delay disasters and an after-Brexit disruption in the supply chain. Hence, the RHA wants to set the record straight.
Richard Burnett, RHA Chief Executive said that there is currently a shortage of between 45-50K HGV drivers within the haulage industry and that the issue needs to be addressed. In fact, with their being a shortage across Europe it is essential that the sector works hard to get more people into the industry.
In an attempt to address this the RHA, along with telematics provider Microlise Road to Logistics, has made a national training programme which has been designed to encourage new talent coming from all parts of society and where people need support to regard their independence and confidence, to enter the transport and logistics industry.
The expense involved in the recruitment of new talent into their organisations will be reduced with the help of Road to Logistics.
As well as this, the RHA, along with Close Brothers Asset Finance has set up a scheme where RHA members who have less than 20 vehicles can apply for funding which they will use in the recruitment and training of new HGV drivers. With Close Brothers paying for 20 apprentices to learn their skills, the signed up hauliers will not need to cover the entire cost of the apprentices’ employment until they are in a position to provide a positive contribution to their business.
Need for better clarity on funding
Richard Burnett also noted that there is a need for better clarity on funding and on the licenses which are possible within this driver apprentice scheme. He said that there is a need for improved training schemes where a higher level of flexibility is offered over the access to funding, this especially being the case for the small operator.
Richard Burnett went on to say that the Brexit effect on the exchange rate means that some Eastern European HGV drivers are now returning to their own countries. Assurance that a working future is available in the United Kingdom has been provided. This, coupled with more certainty for rights of residence and a better exchange rate gives us confidence that there will be fewer drivers returning to their homelands.
In conclusion, Richard Burnett noted that the road freight sector will continue in the task of delivering the needed goods to supermarket shelves, however, the whole economy will benefit if we increase the number of quality drivers.