Plans to boost recruitment in the transport industry have been unveiled to
combat a predicted shortfall of up to 80,000 lorry drivers over the next two
The package of proposals, published by the Freight Transport Association, is
in response to the implementation of the Working Time Directive for mobile
workers that will limit driver hours to a maximum of 48 in 2005.
The recruitment initiative includes a plan for a young driver training
scheme, aimed at helping people achieve their HGV licence at an earlier age.
Also proposed is a MOD re-settlement plan to encourage former military
personnel to become civilian lorry drivers and a scheme to help unemployed people
receive the HGV training they need.
John Paterson, group HR director at Christian Salvesen, welcomed the
proposals outlined in the FTA’s report Take a Step Up.
He said: "Fast-tracking young drivers is a very good idea, as is
targeting unemployed people. The Army is a traditional source of drivers for
the industry and should be revisited. We have put together a promotional video
and sent it to the Army.
"We are also looking to enter into a pilot scheme where we will pay the
military to train staff."
Paterson believes the industry needs to go beyond the recruitment initiative
and overhaul its image if it wants to retain its drivers. He said: "It is
very much a macho industry, with a long-hours low-pay culture. We need to
improve benefits – the industry is under-pensioned and has poor sick pay."