shutterstock_504525439 (1)

Government moves to restrict funding for the long-delayed LGV Driver Apprenticeship to just £6,000 per applicant are “insane”, the Apprenticeship Trailblazer group said this week.

The group is warning that unless swift action is taken by government agencies to deliver a working apprenticeship the UK’s HGV driver shortage will hit crisis point.

The call follows the refusal of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) - which approves apprenticeship standards - to budge on its recommendation that funding for the LGV Driver Apprenticeship is pegged at £6,000 per apprentice.

The logistics industry trailblazer group, which has been working with IFATE to put together the LGV Apprenticeship, insists £6,000 per apprentice is not enough.

In a statement this week the group, which is made up of logistics industry leaders, said: “The reasons for rejecting a revision to the funding level seem to surround what are defined as eligible and ineligible costs.”

It added: “It is insane that the vehicle finance, insurance and maintenance costs are all deemed ineligible. How can you train an LGV Driver without providing a vehicle?

Read more

“Also ineligible are the test fees which amount to £345 to pass both a Category C and a Category C+E driving test. In total there are almost £2,000 worth of costs involved in delivering a Cat C+E Apprenticeship which are ineligible according to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) rules.

“The pass rate for an LGV driving test is 59% and retest and retraining costs are eligible under ESFA rules but the IFATE refuses to recognise this cost.”

It added: “It appears that the IFATE do not wish to support the transport and logistics sector.”

IFATE is now set to make recommendations that the funding be set at £6,000 per apprentice to Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who will make the final decision.

However the logistics industry is battling to turn the tables at the eleventh hour, according to the trailblazer group, with both RHA chief executive Richard Burnett and David Wells, chief executive of Logistics UK, making representations to Transport Secretary Grant Schapps whilst DfT officials lobbying their counterparts in the DfE.

The Group is also seeking to work with the IFATE to gain approval for the Urban Driver Cat C Apprenticeship, which it says is vital to ensure the sector is not left without any creditable LGV Driving Apprenticeship.

It warned: “If the IFATE impose the LGV Driver Cat C+E Apprenticeship on the sector with a funding band of £6,000 then it is doubtful there will be any training providers willing to work for that amount but we would also be faced with the existing LGV Driver Cat C Apprenticeship being withdrawn.

“All this whilst the LGV driver shortage is worsening and the sector continues to pay over £10m per month in Apprenticeship Levy yet recovers less than £2m per month in logistics apprenticeship funding.”