At Last – Trailblazer Apprenticeships for the Haulage Industry

After years of lobbying, the BIS has announced Trailblazer Apprenticeships at haulage companies.

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(businesspress24) - One of the biggest problems facing haulage companies is the critical shortage of trained HGV drivers. In some cases, this has reached critical proportions that even threaten the supply of goods to different sectors (See report in the Telegraph from October 2015).

Over the past few years we have seen the average age of drivers increasing alongside an ever decreasing intake of new drivers. As older drivers retire with no new drivers to take their place, the deficit continues to grow. There are plenty of reasons for this, but a key contributor discouraging new drivers from getting their license is the £3,000 cost.

There’s Light at the End of the Tunnel

However, that situation could change rapidly in light of the government’s recent announcement that it has approved three trailblazer apprenticeship schemes for the haulage industry – LGV drivers, traffic office and warehouse operatives.

The scheme, which was announced by the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills, puts in place a trailblazer apprenticeship scheme that provides haulage companies with funding of up to £4,900 per apprentice for the training required to obtain a LGV licence and full driver CPC qualification.

The new Trailblazer scheme is expected to come into force in September 2017. At this time, criteria for the apprenticeship scheme are unknown but could be similar to existing apprenticeship criteria that states:

• Apprentices must hold a valid UK driving licence (Category B car licence) and must be at least 18 years old in order to be awarded a provisional vocational licence.
• Apprentices without Level 1 English and maths will need to achieve this level and take the test for Level 2 English and maths before entry assessment.

It is hoped that, once implemented, the scheme will help reverse the negative recruitment trend (in 2015, 51% of UK haulage companies didn’t employ any new drivers) and encourage employers to develop and put in place training programmes as well as actively seek new apprentices.

All Round Industry Approval

This new government initiative has received industry wide approval. Both the Road Haulage Association and the Freight Transport Association have said that they welcome the scheme.

Colin Snape, chairman of the logistics Trailblazer group, said: “The Trailblazer LGV driver apprenticeship gives a really solid platform and encouragement to employers of all sizes – not just the big logistics fleets. These Trailblazers could be game-changing for the industry. For the first time, employers have funded apprenticeship schemes that have been designed with strong industry involvement and will be of real practical use”.

Sally Gilson, FTA’s skills policy manager, said: “Although the funding cap is lower than we hoped for, this is still a positive step by the government to help the industry grow the HGV drivers of the future. This will enable companies to capture a younger driver and gain funding for the licence acquisition training that will make apprenticeships a viable training solution.”

The apprenticeship scheme is also expected to integrate with the PHA, Care After Combat, Microlise and HM Prison Service’s “Road to Logistics” programme that aims to provide training and a new career for ex-servicemen and reformed offenders.

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Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange provides services for matching haulage companies with jobs in road transport and haulage work. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe ''wholesale'' environment.

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Date: 07/26/2016 - 08:23
Language: English
News-ID 1448923
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Firma: Haulage Exchange
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