There has been a significant rise in commercial vehicle driver training to meet the increased demand for delivery drivers, according to Red Corporate Driver Training.
More employers are looking to upskill their workforce to meet the increased need, it says, having seen a 60% increase in demand from corporate clients looking to train more drivers.
Red's growth reflects data released by the DVSA which shows a record number of practical commercial vehicle driving tests being carried out.
According to the latest official figures, in 2022 (excluding December) a total of 106,243 practical tests were carried out across the C1 (medium vehicles), C1E (medium vehicles with a trailer), C (large vehicles) and CE (large vehicles with a trailer) categories.
This compared to 70,124 in the whole of 2021. Pass rates remain at around the 60% mark.
Seb Goldin, CEO of Red Corporate Driver Training, said: “The DVSA data shows a remarkable post-Covid growth in the number of C1, C+E and C practical driving tests conducted by the DVSA.
“This reflects the pent-up demand from tests not being conducted during lockdowns as well as a general increase in people looking to re-train to meet the increased demand for drivers.”
Goldin explained that there a number of reasons for this increased demand for drivers, with many over-50s leaving the workforce since the pandemic, fewer drivers from the EU operating in the UK and most importantly, he says, “the structural shift in our retail economy means that goods are being shipped to homes and businesses rather than collected from stores”.
He added: “The DVSA has done a tremendous job of reacting to this increase in testing and it feels like we are truly back to pre-pandemic levels of operation.
“We are certainly seeing a huge increase in demand from our corporate clients who are looking to upskill and train more drivers.
“We’ve taken on more trainers and vehicles to meet this demand.”
Goldin says what is also pleasing to note is that general levels of driver training among companies is remaining high, even though some aspects are optional.
“This shows that fleets recognise the impact that being safe and operationally efficient can have on their bottom line,” he said.