Lack of Experience & Cost of Licences Blamed for Shortage of Lorry Drivers

Lack of Experience & Cost of Licences Blamed for Shortage of Lorry Drivers

MORE than a 100 lorry-driving jobs are up for grabs across the county – but a lack of qualified drivers means the positions are difficult to fill.

Some of the jobs, for drivers of heavy goods vehicles, have been advertised for up to three months without success.

Lack of experience and the increased cost of getting a HGV licence – around £2,700 – are among the reasons behind the influx of driving jobs.

Michael Watson , head of driving at Blue Arrow recruitment agency, which commissioned a survey into the problem, said: “The fact is there aren’t enough people in the industry; there are not enough people to replace those who are leaving.

Unsociable hours, long days and time away from the family are also contributing factors, according to Mr Watson.

HGV driver Simon Bramwell, 32, of Mansfield Woodhouse got a driving job after being unemployed for a year.

He said: “I managed to get my HGV qualification but all the companies wanted at least two years of experience, so I was struggling to find anything.

“I was applying everywhere and after an interview with Blue Arrow I managed to get a job in just a day or two.”

He added: “There is a real shortage of HGV drivers at the moment, but it can be tough finding companies that are happy to take on people without experience.

“But there are also a lot of people out of work and the job centre will pay for HGV training if you are unemployed, so it is worth doing.”

HGV trainer Ian Markwick who owns a driving school in Main Street, Newton, said the problem will get worse in September.

He said: “Drivers were given five years in September 2009 to complete 35 hours of training to get their driver Certificate of Professional Competence, which will be a legal requirement by September 9.

“A lot of the older drivers didn’t want to go back to the classroom after 30 years when they are so close to retirement so they will probably just leave their jobs.”

Matthew Wheatley, the growth plan manager for D2N2, the local enterprise partnership for Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, said: ”This is an acknowledged problem for our area and is a barrier highlighted to us by business.

“Our industry-led Transport and Logistics Sector Action Plan recognises that the cost of training of new drivers is an important skills issue that has to be addressed.”

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