HGV driver courses set up to help meet critical shortages

Too few people are considering a career as an HGV driver because of a lack of understanding of the industry

Too few people are considering a career as an HGV driver because of a lack of understanding of the industry and perceptions about working hours, pay and conditions. - Credit: Steve Williams

Training has started for more local HGV drivers to help tackle critical shortages affecting people and businesses. 

The shortage of drivers has come into sharp focus with fuel and other supply chain issues leading to a lack of available goods across a range of sectors, including food.

With the average HGV drivers being 55, and only 2% under the age of 25, many are coming up to retirement and there's not enough young drivers to replace them.

The training courses are being funded by The Combined Authority through its devolved control of the adult education budget for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 

Under the adult education programme, Peterborough College will provide a route into driver training. 

A new independent training provider, System Group, has also been commissioned to train more drivers. 

System Group will work with local employers through a specifically set up Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP) to identify suitable candidates and train them to get their HGV licence. 

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“The HGV driver shortages are a sharp reminder of the importance of skills,” said Mayor Dr Nik Johnson. 

“This is obviously a national issue, but it also is a local one, and we have moved quickly to see what we can do. 

“We’re doing our bit by training up more drivers locally, supporting employers who desperately need new staff, and helping people into good jobs and careers. 

“The training is about good outcomes, so it also includes work experience and a guaranteed job interview. 

“We are flexible, know our region, and have good relationships with local training providers, colleges and employers to ensure that our funding makes the biggest difference possible.” 

Too few people are considering a career as an HGV driver because of a lack of understanding of the industry and perceptions about working hours, pay and conditions. 

The aim is to train an initial 45 HGV drivers via both Peterborough College and System Group, and, if successful, there is potential to build further long-term capacity. 

The courses are free and trainees must be aged over 19 and live in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. 

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