The Freight Transport Association's (FTA) chief executive David Wells was at Westminster yesterday (Monday, January 18) highlighting the issue of driver shortage in the logistics sector.
Wells was giving evidence to the Transport Committee, which is investigating factors affecting recruitment and retention and the effectiveness of measures by industry and the Government to solve the driver crisis.
During the hearing FTA took the opportunity to press the Committee to consider the inclusion of driver training in the industry led apprenticeship Trailblazer scheme ahead of the imposing apprenticeship levy.
The Association also outlined the urgent need of improvements to driver facilities in the UK, and called for the removal of 'barriers' to encourage would-be drivers to take up the profession.
Wells said: “On behalf of our members FTA welcomed the opportunity to give evidence to the Transport Committee today. We were pleased to see that it took the time to consider the importance of the subject of the shortage of professional drivers.
"During the hearing, we highlighted the vital role the freight and logistics industry plays in supporting the economy, and FTA will continue to encourage the Government to fully understand how truck drivers contribute in literally delivering the goods."
There is currently a shortage of 45,000 HGV drivers across the industry, plus problems recruiting in other areas such as engineering and warehousing.
The FTA is staging a Logistics Skills Summit in March entitled Attract, Recruit, Retain to highlight the issue and to help employers find solutions.
The FTA event at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena on March 17, follows last year’s successful Driver Crisis Summit which attracted more than 600 delegates. It is free to attend and will include information on recruiting Armed Forces leavers and EU workers and discussions on changing the image of the industry.
The event, which is being held during National Apprentices Week, is the day after the Budget and will also feature updates on apprenticeships and the apprenticeship levy.
To register for a free place at the Logistics Skills Summit, please visit the FTA website.