The Road Haulage Association has launched a training scheme to boost professionalism in the haulage industry and create career paths for truck drivers.
The scheme is also aimed at attracting more drivers to address the shortfall affecting the sector.
Rob Devenish, head of training information at the Road Haulage Association, said the introduction of the Working Time directive for the transport industry in 2003 will exacerbate the skills shortages.
Truck drivers must undertake lengthy training programmes to gain licences that allow them to drive articulated trucks and large lorries.
Devenish said the 27,000 qualified drivers will be spread even thinner after the regulations, which prevent them working more than 48 hours in a week, come into force.
The RHA scheme will include courses in transport law, risk management, management skills and driver assessment.
Drivers will also be trained to use digital tachographs and understand the directive's rules.