At last, a small bit of good news for the road haulage industry
Anyone trying to run a logistics operation knows that juggling challenges is part of the day job. We all know it’s a tough and highly regulated industry, but recently not much has gone in the right direction.
Coping with increasing competition from Europe, squeezed margins and a fuel price that’s at the mercy of fluctuating exchange rates is bad enough, but hauliers are also being held responsible for everything from our crumbling roads to the air quality in our congested cities. It seems that someone has to take the blame for decades of under-investment in our road and rail network.
Quick, let’s all invest in a brand-new fleet with cleaner engines and twin wheels to spread the load – we can all afford that, right?
Well, maybe the biggest operators stand a chance, but the smaller businesses will struggle just as they struggle to retain the manpower they need in the face of a major skills shortage. A stretched budget doesn’t leave much room for rewards, and, sadly, it leaves even less for the training of entrants to the industry.
Funding LGV driver training
We all know the situation can’t be allowed to go on deteriorating if we are to maintain any significant British-owned and operated freight-transport businesses. It looked like the Government’s aim of supporting 3 million apprenticeships by 2020 would help, but then came the announcement that the support would not extend to the LGV driver standard. Ouch!
The problem appeared to be that as the licences are a statutory requirement, training would not be funded. This seemed particularly harsh for the larger firms who will be paying the new apprenticeship levy but would then be unable to benefit from it to train new drivers.
Whether it was simply a bit of confusion on the part of the Skills Funding Agency or not we might never know, but the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has now clarified the position and, for once, it’s good news. On the basis that the training will support the knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary to achieve the LGV standard, funding will be available.
The distinctions between the definitions are slim. Training to get a licence or training to get the knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary to achieve the licence amounts to pretty much the same thing in our books. But wherever you sit on the wording, the thing to note is that the logistics industry has not been excluded from an important and valuable funding resource.
Now all the industry needs to do is create the training opportunities, find the young people to fill them, and reap the rewards as the skills gap narrows.
If you say it fast, it sounds easy.
If you’d like to talk about skills, training or any aspect of logistics recruitment call us on 0161 742 2320. We’re always ready to talk.