New research from HGVtraining.co.uk has found that young adults are among the least likely to want to train to become lorry drivers.
This is not particularly good news for the ongoing driver shortage, which represents a serious threat to the future of the road haulage industry.
And with the average truck driver now 57 years old, fleet managers are crying out for some younger drivers.
HGVtraining.co.uk conducted a survey of more than 2,000 people across the UK and found that just one-in-five (21%) 18 to 24-year-olds would consider a career in lorry driving. This is almost half the number (38%) of 25 to 34-year-olds who would consider trucking and significantly below the one-in-three (35%) of 35 to 44-year-olds who would consider trucking.
The great HGV driver shortage
In the run up to Christmas in 2015, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) warned that a shortfall of 50,000 lorry drivers would put Christmas deliveries at risk.
Thanks to the careful preparation from fleet managers and old fashioned hard work from lorry drivers the disruption to Christmas deliveries was kept to a minimum in 2015 and supermarket shelves stayed stocked.
But if the haulage industry fails to attract young drivers then it won’t be long before we start having to fight over the last Christmas turkey.
A survey conducted this time last year found that only 2% of the nation’s HGV drivers were under the age of 25, and 60% were over the age of 45.
If these trends continue then the UK logistics industry faces a ticking time bomb of a problem. As more and more drivers approach retirement age, the industry needs younger recruits to fill gaps left in the labour market but the above survey data suggests that this will be difficult.
How to get more young people interested in trucking
The HGVtraining.co.uk survey also recorded some of reasons why people were put off becoming truck drivers.
The most commonly cited reasons were a perceived lack of career progression, boredom and – what many in the industry believe to be the biggest turnoff – the high costs of training. A professional CPC driving qualification costs around £3,000.
In December last year, the government launched a new ‘Trailblazer’ apprenticeship to try and attract more young people into the sector.
Richard Burnett, chief executive of the RHA welcomed this apprenticeship but suggested the government needed to do more to help people get the right training.
He said: “The approval of the LGV apprenticeship scheme is good news and a victory for our campaigning and lobbying work. However, it is essential that the apprenticeship includes the costs of licence acquisition. After all, licence acquisition lies at the very core of training new lorry drivers. An LGV apprenticeship that doesn’t cover the cost of the licence is like having a truck without an engine. At this stage, it’s just not clear if licence acquisition is covered by the scheme so we’ll be pressing this issue with ministers in the coming days.”
In their own attempt to attract more youngsters to the industry, HGVtraining.co.uk is launching a new ‘Young Truckers’ campaign.
As part of the campaign they have laid out a list of three policy commitments they would like to see from the government in their ‘Young Truckers’ Manifesto’.
The training company wants the government to establish a £25m training fund for drivers aged between 21 and 25.
They also want trainees to get free re-takes on CPC driver tests for those who don’t pass first time round.
Perhaps most importantly, the company isn’t just focussing on the financial side of recruitment. They also want the government to attach more importance to the value of logistics careers in school.
In particular, they highlight the example set by Germany where their education system places emphasis on vocational options as well as more academic career paths.