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It's hard to move for training, recruitment and skills-crisis stories at the moment, with a return to economic growth, the industry's chronic shortage of fresh blood, the high cost of getting your HGV licence, and even the Driver CPC all playing their part in what appears to be a very sticky situation for a road transport sector that should by rights by moving full speed ahead.

Just today REC provided further evidence to what most operators already know - there's a driver shortage. Hardly news as this MT feature from 2012 shows but useful evidence to build the case for immediate action.

Against this backdrop, Ross Lockett (pictured), the training and compliance manager at driver agency Advance Logistics Support, shares his thoughts with The Hub on the issue:

"With regard to the shortage of LGV drivers pre-Christmas, this situation is part of a greater issue which is now going deeper in to the year, and is getting worse year-by-year. The pre-Christmas issue, is mainly compounded by the demand for extra goods, and all of the major suppliers offering bonus’s which strangles the market and pushes the rates to a more respectable level for the driver, but creates a desperate situation in supply, this driver supply issue is relieved slightly at this time of this year by drivers who come from other industries such as builders and landscape gardeners etc, whose work is limited during the winter.

"Within the agency supply industry we are increasingly finding that the August and September peak is as challenging as the Christmas rush, this is due to not having the extra drivers from other trades, also that the majority of all staff want this time for their own annual vacation.

"In regard of the greater issue I referred to at the start, the whole lifeblood of the industry is heading for a “perfect storm” scenario, unless the industry addresses the situation of recruiting LGV drivers. We currently have reports of 100k to 150k LGV drivers short within the UK, in addition the LGV drivers currently working, reports have said that somewhere in the region of 50% of these are aged 50 or older, thus increasingly over the next ten years the shortage will be far worse.

Ross Lockett

"I have been in several meetings and conferences recently with enterprise, logistics bodies, charities and job shops, it is the same now, as has been for years within logistics, we never have a consolidated voice. I was in one such meeting recently, where the two large independent logistics associations were not present, nor government officials with regard to logistics, nor any local Job Centres. We have to join this whole discussion together. I am sure that daily, anyone of the logistics representatives, whether it be a charity, guild, association, local or national government etc, are discussing logistics 'the way forward' and top of the agenda is always, we do not have enough drivers.

"With all of the above in mind, we have to do something and very soon to address this situation. Looking back through the years I have within logistics, we have never been able to haul all of the bodies who have power to do this and effect a solution which will solve this issue. Couple this with fuel price issue and falling margins for businesses within the industry, this is why it should be recognised at the top of government and acted upon by them to create an initiative for drivers to join the profession.

"Doing some recent investigations in to a person in his or her mid-twenties getting in to LGV driving, the cost is now a large restriction to the career. When I started LGV driving back in the 1980s I set off, paid for myself to be trained, around £900, and then was employed within a few days on around £8.50 per hour. Now they have to pay out a between £50 to £200 for the medical, £38.00 for Digital Tachograph card, £4 to £5,000 for training, tests and Driver CPC etc.

"Then only to be told they do not have the experience so they can’t get a job. If they then do get a job, it will be only paying in the region of £10.00 per hour. To get over this, the government really needs to invite initiatives from all sides of the logistics spectrum, employers, insurance companies and if possible fuel suppliers to come up with a joint strategy to resolve this worsening situation for logistics within the UK."