Lack of HGV Drivers Will Cause Summer Food Shortage
The combination of Brexit, the pandemic, and low interest in becoming an HGV driver in young generations have already caused tremendous issues over the last 2 years. With the government being late to react many industries felt the disturbance caused by a disrupted chain of supply. If not addressed, the situation might repeat, causing another summer food shortage. How can we prevent it from happening?
What are the causes of HGV Driver shortage?
First, let’s examine why the HGV driver shortage reached unprecedented levels in 2020 and 2021. As you might imagine, pandemic restrictions halted many industries worldwide, preventing workers from returning home because of lockdown and severely limiting the ability to train new drivers. Instead of the typical 40,000 drivers, only 15,000 would receive a licence in 2020.
Brexit was another important factor that added to the problem – many HGV drivers were uncertain over their working and living conditions, with many EU-based drivers avoiding overseas work in the UK. Finally, the lack of interest from job hunters meant fewer and fewer people were interested in becoming an HGV driver, often based on common misconceptions about the industry.
Potential consequences of a lack of HGV Drivers
We’ve already seen the aftermath of neglecting the rights and working standards of HGV drivers – retail stores with empty shelves and devastating food shortages. If the United Kingdom is to find itself in this new post-Brexit and post-Covid reality, the government must continue to support the transportation industry and help maintain efficient supply chains.
The UK desperately needs more HGV drivers – both transportation companies and their clients struggle to keep up with the increasing demand, causing not only food shortages, but also shortages in the chemical industry, retailers, and other fields that require regular deliveries.
The government’s plan to fight HGV driver shortages
The UK government already issued several actions to improve the situation. HGV drivers’ hours were made more flexible, and £30 million was invested to create high-quality training schools and bootcamps to increase candidate capacity. Many additional incentives were employed to help employers and employees deal with the crisis, including funding for training and benefits for employers who hire new apprentices.
Testing levels are closer to pre-pandemic levels than they were a year ago, but they are still not at full capacity. The interest is also increasing, as salaries rise (HGV drivers can expect annual salaries between £30,000 and £50,000) and the industry becomes more secure.
The processing times of new licences were severely reduced as well, and the wait isn’t as bad now as it was a year ago. An effort has been made to improve parking and facilities along common HGV routes, but the effects of this haven’t been very impressive so far.
If you’re interested in becoming an HGV driver and experience these benefits yourself, you’ll need to be over 18 years old and have a full UK driving licence. You’ll also need to pass an HGV driver course at an established institution, like the LGV Training Company, with 4.5 star customer reviews and a high pass rate across 92 training locations all across the United Kingdom.