College tackles HGV driver shortage

Logistics firms in Liverpool city region are dealing with a chronic shortage of HGV drivers and now the City of Liverpool College is looking to tackle the problem. Tony McDonough reports

Sovereign Transport
Sovereign Transport is one local firm that says finding drivers is a challenge

 

In the last few month the chronic shortage of HGV drivers in the UK has been the cause of empty supermarket shelves and petrol pumps running dry.

In late October the Government was forced to draft in the army to deliver fuel to forecourts in some areas of the country.  Analysis of Google searches by Urbantz reveals that online searches for ‘truck driver UK’ exploded 1,300% in late September.

Now the City of Liverpool College is looking to do its bit to help fill the HGV driver gap. It will deliver free Skills Bootcamps in HGV driving in partnership with Northwest Education and Training (NWEAT), as part of the Government’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

The bootcamps have been designed to help bridge the HGV driver skills gap, with each trainee offered a guaranteed interview with an employer on completion of the course. This will be good news for city region logistics firms.

In November, Kirkby-based Sovereign Transport told LBN of the huge challenge of recruiting and retaining HGV drivers. Head of logistics Adam Radcliffe, whose father Steve founded the business in 1999, said the company was enjoying soaring demand but making sure it had enough drivers was a constant challenge.

“I have had an advert out for the past few months looking for new drivers to join us. What makes it more difficult is companies such as Asda willing to pay thousands in welcome bonus payments. We can’t compete with that.”

Skills Bootcamps in HGV driving have been produced by the Department for Education to support with the training and licensing of HGV drivers, in a quick response to the national shortage in the road haulage industry.

Elaine Bowker
Elaine Bowker, principal and chief executive at the City of Liverpool College

 

There is now an estimated shortage of more than 30,000 qualified HGV drivers in the UK, seeing salaries increase to attract new drivers, with typical wages now between £35,000 and £50,000.

READ MORE: Mersey logistics firms facing challenges head-on

The Skills Bootcamps are part of the City of Liverpool College’s work towards addressing the needs of employers and the wider economy, delivering targeted interventions to meet demands to fill vacancies and drive productivity.

Through the course, which will run for up to 16 weeks, participants will also acquire the appropriate licences to work as an HGV driver, or for qualified HGV drivers to acquire specialist HGV qualifications.

Elaine Bowker, principal and chief executive at the City of Liverpool College, said: “It’s great to be able to deliver this training in a sector that needs support, especially with the shortages this vital sector is currently facing.

“It is incredibly important to us that we play our role in getting people the skills they need to be ready for the world of work, so it’s fantastic that we’re able to provide this opportunity.”

The bootcamps are available for individuals who have no, or limited, prior experience. Training will include CPC training and verification, theory, hazard perception and case studies, practical training and a guaranteed interview on completion of the course. Click here to find out more.

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