Between 2011 and 2021 employment in the UK’s logistics sector grew by 88%. Despite this impressive rise, the sector still appears not to be high on the list of chosen professions for many people, especially among the younger generation. In fact, in a recent survey of 750 people, only 10% said they would consider a job in logistics.
Demand for fresh talent in the sector remains high so, in an effort to highlight the career opportunities, scale and essential nature of the logistics industry, the Government launched its ‘Generation Logistics’ campaign earlier this year.
One of the ideas currently on the campaign agenda is a review of who can and can’t drive larger vans and 7.5 tonne trucks. Rule changes introduced when the UK was part of the EU mean that anyone who’d passed their Category B (car) driving test after 1 January 1997 must pass a C1 test in order to drive a 7.5 tonne truck. Drivers who passed their Category B test before that date have ‘grandfather rights’, which allow them to drive 7.5 tonne trucks without an additional test.
The government is considering using post-Brexit freedoms to roll back these rules, permitting all Category B licence holders to get behind the wheel of a 7.5 tonne truck, creating new job opportunities for people in the UK and help meet the current high demand for drivers.
However, there is an additional consideration. Currently anyone wishing to use their ‘grandfather rights’ to drive a 7.5 tonne truck professionally, must complete 35 hours of Driver CPC training every five years. Presumably this will also apply if the rights are extended to drivers who passed after January ’97 – so they will need to take some additional training before they get behind the wheel.
You can have your say on whether you think this is a practical way of introducing new drivers to the industry by visiting https://www.gov.uk/government/news/views-sought-on-options-to-streamline-driver-licensing-and-support-jobs. The review is open for your comments until 11.45pm on 28 October 2022.