LGV Driver Shortages Threaten Christmas Business Deliveries

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Vehicle Type Verses Licence Class
HGV / LGV Cat 'C+E' (Class 1)

Any vehicle over 7.5t that has a detachable or separate trailer, Cat 'C+E' licences can only be applied for once the driver has taken and passed their Cat 'C'. These are larger vehicles so tend to be used for long haul, national and international routes. Starting salaries are around £28,000 per year.

HGV / LGV Cat 'C' (Class 2)

For vehicles in a rigid-based body that is over 7.5t – examples include fire engines, rubbish collection vehicles and any HGV, providing the vehicle is all one unit (i.e. the cab does not separate from the trailer). Usually operated in towns and cities, starting salaries for Cat 'C' drivers are around £24,000 per year

Cat C1

For use if driving any goods vehicle that is above 3.5t and below 7.5t in weight. If you gained your driving licence before 1997, you will automatically have this category on your licence. If you gained your driving licence after 1997, you will have to take a test. Note – if you gain your Cat 'C' you automatically get given your Cat 'C1', so it is advisable to take a full Cat 'C' course and get both categories for the price of one. C1 vehicle examples include: horseboxes, ambulances, Occado delivery vehicles etc. Course can be completed in 1x week.

Cat C1+E

Same as above, but gives you the capacity to tow a trailer behind your C1 vehicle. Course can be completed in 1x week.

Cat B+E

This enables you to tow an item behind a standard car. Again, if you passed before 1997 you do not need to pass a test to tow a trailer behind a car – if you passed after 1997, a full course and driving test is required. Course can be completed in 3x days.

Cat D

This is a full bus / coach licence, enabling you to drive any sized Passenger Carrying Vehicle. Course can be completed in 1x week.

Cat D1

Enables you to drive a minibus of 9-16 seats maximum. If you passed your driving test before 1997 this category will already be on your licence, if you passed after that date a full course and test is required. Course can be completed in 1x week.

Fork Lift

The licences depend on what vehicle is used and the type of environment it is used in. 1-day refresher courses: for experienced operators with lapsed licences 3-day mini courses: for experienced operators who have not received formal training 5-day full courses: for novices who have not received any training and have no experience. All courses begin with classroom time where you will learn the theoretical requirements of the vehicle they are being trained on. Includes all relevant aspects of health and safety and short multiple-choice Theory Test. Practical training begins with an explanation as to the operation of the relevant truck. Practical elements cover daily vehicle checks and safe loading techniques – you will then practice the operation of the vehicle until they become proficient, whereby a short practical test will take place.

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November 24, 2016 3:49 pm

Christmas is almost upon us – or at least that’s what adverts, our calendars and the dropping temperatures tell us. We’ve even spoken to the driver of the Coca-Cola Christmas truck who told us that holidays are definitely coming. But it could be the case that Christmas never actually arrives to some major retailers if the looming LGV driver shortage can’t be solved, and fast.

 

An alarming gap in the number of lorry drivers required to deliver to stores this Christmas and the number of working drivers available means big name outlets may be struggling to guarantee that they will get their Christmas stock in good time. Agencies supplying temporary drivers to big name stores in the run-up to Christmas have always had a hard time trying to recruit enough drivers for the festive season, but this year sees the biggest ever shortage of drivers since records began in 2005.83% of driver agencies said they were expecting driver recruitment this year to be a significant problem, according to a study by the Recruitment and Employment Federation.

 

They estimate that at least 35,000 extra drivers will be needed to cover the Christmas period, with many large-name stores using temporary drivers via agencies to fulfil this extra demand – the same agencies who are currently having a very hard time trying to find the staff required. This is on top of the year-round LGV driver shortage currently being experienced in the UK. The Freight Transport Association’s Logistics Report 2016 highlights an even bigger gap overall, with a minimum of 45,000 drivers needed to plug the current gap, although it could be as many as 60,000.

 

As we reported recently, there is a worrying trend of Eastern European drivers leaving their jobs because of the poor conversion rate of the pound to their native currency offered in post-Brexit Britain, which is stifling their wages and forcing them to reconsider their employment options. This problem is compounded by the fact that British drivers are simply not stepping up in large enough numbers to pull the industry out of the current shortage, and a large number of working drivers are reaching retirement age without enough younger drivers to replace them.

 

It’s not just the number of drivers which is under scrutiny, but the kinds of people going into the profession too. MPs have also raised concerns that there are not enough people from black and minority ethnic communities in the haulage industry, and that women were likewise underrepresented in the sector. The average HGV driver in the UK is over 45, white and male. 92% of licence-holders qualified to drive HGVs are male, and more 60% are aged 45 or over, which could mean the problem only grows once these drivers reach retirement age.

 

Could it be that making the industry as welcoming as possible to female or BME candidates is the key to getting the sector back on track? One solution to the LGV driver shortage would certainly be to attract more women and BME drivers to take the wheel, as well as younger drivers. That’s the path being set out by MPs in the new report, which also contains other recommendations for obstacles that need to be addressed in more detail, including the cost of qualifying as an HGV driver, which can sometimes be up to £4,000.

 

It’s in the whole country’s best interests to do what we can to encourage new drivers to take up these vital jobs. Not only can they help to plug the driver gap, but new faces can bring fresh energy to the haulage sector and make it an even more diverse and welcoming community.

 


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This post was written by Prath Kamat

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