As UK logistics “falls behind”, more money is needed to train truck mechanics

On the occasion of National Logistics Day, industry officials claim the UK is falling dangerously behind its neighbors after repeated government failures to understand how the sector works.

Warnings from both Logistics UK and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) suggest that in an attempt to address the country’s lorry driver shortages, the government may have failed to prepare surrounding support infrastructure for more drivers and vehicles on the road.

Sarah Watkins, deputy director of Logistics UK, said rising driver wages had prompted truck mechanics to switch jobs to earn higher wages. She added: “When a vehicle breaks down and needs servicing, there are delays and when the vehicle goes off the road, the goods cannot be delivered.”

Yesterday the Department for Transport announced it would be making £300,000 available to help raise the profile of logistics schools and colleges. The money is part of the Generation Logistics campaign launched last year and aims to improve recruitment and retention of a skilled and diverse logistics workforce.

The government also announced an increase in funding for training heavy vehicle technicians, from £15,000 to £20,000 per trainee.

However, the RHA claims that this represents a “true reduction in terms” and does not match the £23,000 it says is needed to make running courses profitable – the number of courses available in the UK has increased by more over the last decade than 100 more than halved to 41 today.

Sally Gibson, RHA Policy maker for Skills and Drivers, said: “We recognize the increased funding but realistically it is not enough to encourage training providers to run these courses.” We also risk seeing existing providers exit the market. We urge ministers to reconsider and pledge the £23,000 we need.”

Jonas Keat, Policy Advisor at Logistics UK added: “There are currently only a limited number of providers of heavy vehicle service and maintenance training across the UK. This is primarily due to the high cost of the course, which often results in lost revenue for most training providers.

“To address the skills shortage, there must be adequate support for the providers that are relied on to deliver this training.”

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