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Skills for Logistics predicts driver shortage

By: Dave Robbins
28 May 2012

A new report from industry training board, ‘Skills for Logistics’, is predicting a major shortage of LGV drivers in the UK over the next few years. The causes are a relatively old workforce and the need to be Driver CPC accredited by September 2014.

The report reveals there has been a 31% decline in LGV tests passed (C, C+E, C1, C1+E) during the last four years. The 2010/11 total stands at 22,700 according to Department for Transport data. Even worse, not all of these licence holders are becoming professional drivers; only 12,000 of these individuals applied for the now mandatory (for all new drivers) Driver Qualification Card.

These findings back-up an investigation conducted by ‘Commercial Motor’ magazine earlier this year which revealed that the number of category C and category C+E tests taken had more than halved from 2005/06 to 2009/10 to just 43,094. Trainee drivers who successfully passed their test in the same period fell 45% to 21,749.

The sector faces an additional challenge caused by an ageing workforce. More than a quarter of LGV drivers are aged 60 or above, while just 1% are under the age of 25. Drivers retiring in the next five years will leave a demand for 48,000 drivers. While there are 1,545,000 LGV licence holders, just 299,000 drive professionally.

SfL estimates there is currently a shortfall of 2.7 million Driver CPC training hours, suggesting many older drivers do not intend to continue working past the September 2014 CPC deadline. ”The driver shortage is not new but its effects were mitigated by the economic downturn,” says Ross Moloney, director at SfL. “As the UK economy recovers, resolving this issue will be critical to avoid holding up growth.”

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