Dealing with the driver shortage

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Skills for Logistics is launching the Certificate to Work…

The much discussed driver shortage in the UK logistics sector comes down to a simple equation: an unemployed person plus an opportunity equals a worker – or, in this case, a driver. An estimated 149,000 new drivers will be needed in the period that started in 2010 and continues to 2020. Despite the recent, and very welcome, fall in unemployment 2.32 million people remain out of work.

Within this figure is a sizeable proportion of NEETS (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), who are young and lack experience. However, with the right development and support they are a talent pool, which our sector should be seeking to attract to mitigate the high number of drivers leaving our sector due to retirement and/or in the wake of Driver CPC.

Yet put yourself in the place of a NEET looking at becoming a lorry driver. You will see a dispiriting number of hurdles ahead of you in terms of qualifications and certificates. It’s a similar case for other potential talent pools, such as those who are experienced but are either changing careers or hail from the military but have not previously used their Cat C or Cat C+E licence.

Each of these groups of people has the potential to become tomorrow’s knowledgeable, competent, skilled and safe drivers. But if our industry is to successfully attract these groups of people, we must hold out a helping hand by breaking down unnecessary barriers that might cause recruits to think twice about becoming drivers. Simplifying the bewildering array of qualifications and licences is a good start.

For this reason, SfL has partnered with learning company Pearson to launch the Certificate to Work. The Certificate to Work is an overarching certificate that includes all of the things that employers look for when they are recruiting a new driver.

Comprising several components, including industry licences and certificates as well as formal accredited qualifications, the certificate will set a new standard for new LGV drivers to achieve.

It is vital that we provide those who want employment as a LGV driver with the knowledge, competence and skills that employers are seeking. Candidates will go through a rigorous initial assessment that will ensure they have a clear understanding of what it takes to be an LGV Driver. Candidates will not be able to achieve the Certificate to Work unless they have either been working for a logistics employer or been provided with some work experience with an employer.

Once a learner has achieved the Certificate to Work, employers will have the assurance that the recruit has everything they need to carry out the role of an LGV Driver. I am confident that the new Certificate to Work will mean that new LGV drivers will be of a high standard and will have the knowledge, competence and skills to work safely in the sector and to achieve long term careers
The new recruits will also become members of the Logistics Guild, giving access to further help including The Logistics Guild Credit Union, which – as I discussed in my last column – provides access to finance for new learners who want to achieve the Certificate to Work.

Skills for Logistics will be the sole approved centre to certificate the Certificate to Work. Learners, therefore, can only be registered through SfL, which will be responsible for checking learners’ certificates and licences.

Centres delivering the formal accredited components of the Certificate to Work will need to be approved through Pearson’s normal approval process and this will be treated as business as usual.

Hopefully this will give you a good idea of how the Certificate to Work can provide the logistics sector with a straightforward process that will ensure candidates come out of it fully trained and ready for the world of work in logistics.

This is just the start of the model and we will be working with stakeholders going forward to ensure that we can make LGV driving more accessible to new drivers seeking work, and help to fill the demand.

Further information:

About Skills for Logistics

Skills for Logistics is the Sector Skills Council for the freight logistics and wholesaling sector. SfL works alongside companies in the UK that are involved in moving, handling, storing and wholesale of goods. SfL is licensed by the government to tackle the skills and productivity needs of employers in the logistics and supply chain sector.

SfL’s mission is to enable employers in the logistics sector to gain competitive advantage by developing workforce skills. It also aims to deliver a more productive and efficient low carbon UK logistics sector.

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