The government has challenged the logistics industry to boost the number of its female and ethnic minority employees.

The government itself has a target of 20% of entrants to the engineering and technical apprenticeships to be female of BAME, and said in its response to a Transport Committee skills report that it would consider extending this to the road transport industry.

It added: “We will challenge the sector to set itself a similar target for the new Logistics Trailblazer apprenticeships and to report periodically on progress.”

She’s RHA founder and partner at Freightlink Europe, Lesley O’Brien, told that this was a realistic target, but that the industry should be wary of positive discrimination.

She said: “I think it’s a realistic target – I’d actually like to think we could achieve higher than 20%.

“But we don’t want to get women in just because we’re trying to hit targets. In trying to achieve diversity, it still has to be the person who is right for the job and can do the job.”

In its response to the report, titled Skills and Workforce Planning in the Road Haulage Sector, the government also hinted that the Driver CPC could be “more flexible” after the UK leaves the EU.

But RHA director of policy Jack Semple said that while the association was keen to reform the Driver CPC, the industry should not raise its expectations as change will be a long time coming.

He told “There are greater priorities for Brexit at the moment. Transport regulations such as Driver CPC are going to have to wait until the important issues of Brexit settle down.”