A call for action to train more lorry drivers has been made by the UK’s largest logistics group Wincanton. This shortage poses a major threat to the industry at large. As the shortage of lorry drivers reaches crisis levels, online shoppers are going to have to wait longer for their orders to arrive, according to the company.
Wincanton, which hires approximately 5,500 drivers for large goods vehicles, has called for a combined action from the government and the haulage industry to tackle this issue before it causes wider economic problems and starts to affect consumers. The Freight Transport Association has figures which show that Britain actually needs a further 60,000 LGV drivers. However, there are only 20,000 drivers entering this profession each year.
Smaller Deliveries to be Impacted First
The HR director of Wincanton, Julie Welch, stated that the time it takes for deliveries will not be the only impact as the costs could rise as well. This would be due to companies fighting to hire CPC qualified drivers which will increase wages. She states that the problem will not manifest in turkeys not being in the stores for Christmas as larger companies will be able to put more resources into the problem. It will be the smaller deliveries such as the ones that go to a consumer’s home that will be affected. Big retailers that offer home delivery may increase the minimum spending level to make this more cost-effective and this will hurt customers.
Another problem feeding the issue is the age profile of the existing drivers. More than half of the current drives are over the age of 50 and will be facing retirement. The industry has been having problems attracting younger people with fewer than 5% of those qualified in this line of working being under 25.
There are also concerns that red tape is blocking people from entering this job. The pay for these jobs can be £35,000 per annum increasing with specialised qualifications such as driving chemical and fuel tankers. The problem, according to Ms Welch, is that health and safety regulations stop young people from spending a day in the cab to find out what the job is all about. She states that people do not get the chance to learn about the well-paying career and the chances for progress.
Cost of Becoming a Professional Driver
Another large barrier to entering the career is the high costs of becoming a qualified driver. According to the chief executive of the Road Haulage Association, Richard Burnett, getting a truck licence can cost between £3,000 and £5,000 which is a huge amount for people trying to enter the industry. As most haulage companies are small businesses, they often have problems funding the training required. Wincanton is now joining forces with industry bodies to lobby the government to increase funding to the industry to support training and apprenticeships.
What Could This Mean for You?
If you are looking for a new career, driving an HGV was probably not the first job alternative that comes to mind. Of course, this is not always the right job for everyone, but HGV drivers have a career which is not only engaging and secure, it pays well. There are also plenty of opportunities to increase your skill set and increase the amount that you are going to be earning.
There are currently approximately 50,000 jobs in the haulage sector and one of them could easily have your name on it. If you are looking for a new job or simply want to change your career, you should consider becoming an HGV driver. While the shortage of lorry drivers can be a nightmare for retailers and delivery companies, it can be a blessing for you if you want to get into this career.