The Haulage Drivers' Apprentice Scheme
For young people considering a career in haulage jobs, the UK Government's apprenticeship scheme has come as a welcome boost.
With the possibility of excellent financial rewards and the promise of plenty of work due to the ageing of the existing workforce, a career in HGV driving is a very attractive prospect for many young people.
But getting the required credentials and licenses can be a long and expensive process (around £3,000). With no vocational loans or grants available for these kinds of qualifications, the recent announcement by the UK government to establish a new apprenticeship programme has been welcomed by the industry.
The National Apprenticeship Scheme
With a pledge to create 30,000 new apprenticeships over the next five years in the road and rail industries, the scheme is aimed at addressing the skills shortage - which many say is threatening the bedrock of the UK economy - by facilitating opportunities for young people in the UK to obtain valuable skills on the job.
This industry-led solution sees the government taking on a more active role by offering support and access to funding for employers to encourage them to create traineeships for young people.
A Better Skilled Workforce
Trucking and logistics operators in the UK have long expressed concern at the lack of skilled drivers available to take on haulage jobs. While legislation has been in place for a number of years necessitating anyone operating HGVs to undertake and maintain the CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence), the time required for driving tests and medical assessments has been an issue that many believe has contributed to the shortfall of qualified drivers. The government has pledged to improve this, but industry experts say that solving the labour shortage in the longer term means recruiting a younger, more skilled workforce.
Implementation of traineeships will establish an industry-approved level of standards and compliance, in the hope that this will raise the attraction for young people to pursue a career in the logistics and transport industries.
In line with the National Infrastructure Plan for Skills there are a number of HGV focused apprenticeships available for young people considering a career in haulage jobs. Applicants need to undergo a medical test, have basic reading and writing skills, a good driving record, and sound eyesight and colour vision. Advanced apprenticeship schemes are open to those over 16 years of age, although 18 is more common. The official apprenticeships websites of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales provide details of the opportunities for would-be HGV drivers.
While many young people entering the transport industry may aspire to business ownership somewhere along the line, apprenticeships are the first step on the ladder of success. Traineeships may be available across a diverse range of businesses and industries, including manufacturers, large retail and supermarket chains, transport and distribution companies, and logistics companies. For those with specialised training the opportunities to advance in the industry are countless, with opportunities to move into commercial fleet management, transport management, or compliance management.
Qualified HGV drivers are already in high demand and the need to fill the gaps in the workforce is set to increase. With the promised governmental support and the much-welcomed apprenticeship scheme, the industry is looking ahead to its new generation of highly skilled drivers.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day haulage jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.