The transport industries demographic time bomb - Mayday Employment

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The transport industries demographic time bomb

The whole transport industry is really starting to struggle with recruiting enough new people to sustain and develop the sector.

As an agency specialising in logistics, Mayday Employment understands the exciting career opportunities that the industry has to offer but also recognises the challenge faced by the people recruiting for the haulage industry and in particular the difficulty in trying to get the balance of youth and experience right in their workforce.

In our experience the LGV sector employers have always preferred the older more experienced candidates to inexperienced young drivers that have just attained their professional license, especially when it comes to agency drivers, and it’s obvious why, but if the industry does not start to attract a lot more young talent, and give them the start that they need, then as more and more of the old hands retire the shortage of professional drivers will become more and more acute, and we are already struggling.

The numbers are really quite frightening. Research for a 2015 report by an all-party Parliamentary group for freight transport called Barriers to Youth Employment in the Freight Transport Sector, found that just 2% of all LGV drivers are under the age of 25, while 60% were over 45.

One of the biggest challenges that the freight and logistics industry has to overcome is its lack of visibility to the wider society. Younger people in particular don’t even know that it exists. A lack of awareness of the road haulage sector, which is far and away the single largest segment of the logistics industry and estimated to be worth around £42bn a year, was the main issue highlighted in submissions to the group by both individuals as well as businesses.

The Road Haulage Association (RHA), of which Mayday Employment is as associate member,

has long recognised the need to give the industry’s image a facelift and is working hard to do so. After supporting their members in lobbying MP’s to fund logistics apprenticeships, and making the issue a central part of last years National Lorry Week, the RHA were pleased to learn that the Business Department has recently announced new Trailblazer Logistics Apprenticeships which will fund up to £4,900 for a new trainee entering the logistics industry. The scheme is available for lorry driving, traffic office and warehouse operatives.

Lobbying by industry associations is also taking place to urge the government to develop an interest-free loan scheme for driver training. Pay rates are regularly cited as a barrier to entry when considering the training cost of a driver qualification and this is surely another area where more must be done to elevate driving as a profession, and again all concerned need to be working to this end.

Lastly there is the matter of insurance and how this impacts on a haulage company that is looking to recruit young drivers. It is another challenging area but similarly needs the full attention of government, insurance companies, trade bodies and employers combined to get to grips with the issue. Whilst the high insurance barrier to bringing in young professional drivers is probably not in itself a make or break issue it is certainly adding strain to the already difficult task of replenishing a seriously under-resourced workforce.

Whilst the new Trailblazer scheme will no doubt be a great help more clearly needs to be done, and everyone involved in the industry needs to lend their weight to the challenge.

For our part, Mayday Employment are now running in-house training programs to help our workers make the transition from car, van and 7.5 tonne driving to full LGV work.

Driver CPC initial qualification courses as well as renewals for our experienced drivers are now available. Course dates are available on request.

We continue to look for new and innovative ways to encourage young people to make this rewarding career choice and would be pleased to hear from anyone that wishes to find out more about this exciting industry.