The Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) Driver Apprenticeship should include the category C+E licence by the autumn, has learnt.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE), the body which approves apprenticeships, is set to greenlight the inclusion of the C+E licence on 4 September.

Earlier this year FTA said the absence of the C+E licence made the apprenticeship “not fit for purpose”, since it failed to address the HGV driver shortage.

Skills for Logistics MD David Coombes, an IFATE member, told “The industry trailblazer group will submit an application on 7 August for the inclusion of a C+E licence and the route panel, which I head, will meet on 4 September to sign off the application.

"So anyone starting the apprenticeship from around mid-September will be able to train for a C+E licence.”

The trailblazer group has also asked for IFATE to boost funding for the apprenticeship from £5,000 to £7,000 to cover the additional training costs.

Coombes said he was “confident” this would also be approved by IFATE.

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The amendment to the apprenticeship also opens the door for a new LGV driver apprenticeship targeting delivery company drivers, Coombes added.

“This leads the way for an urban LGV category C apprenticeship as there are a lot of urban delivery companies which do not require their drivers to have a C+E licence.

“So whilst the LGV C+E apprenticeship will help tackle the HGV driver shortage, now there is a real need to look at creating a new urban LGV apprenticeship standard with a category C licence," he said.

In a statement the IFATE said: "The amended LGV standard to include C&E licence is due to be submitted to the IFATE in August, assuming the assessment plan is completed by the end of August then both can be submitted to the route panel for review in early September.

"That means there is the potential for the revised apprenticeship to be offered in the autumn."

Sally Gilson, FTA head of skills, said the lack of a C+E licence had acted as a drag factor on the uptake of apprenticeships. “There’s a massive driver shortage and it’s much bigger for category C+E,” she said.

Gary Austin, chairman of the apprenticeship trailblazer group, acknowledged that the levy and the scheme had worked well in some industries, but he added: “In the transport and logistics sector it has fallen very short to meet the needs and demands of companies.

“With a highly publicised shortage of professional, well-trained HGV drivers, the scheme should have been the solution to our problems as the money paid in by the industry could have trained over 70,000 drivers to C+E standard.”

Additional reporting by Chris Tindall