Funding for apprentices ‘step towards resolving driver shortage’

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Funding for apprentices is to increase to £7,000 from 1st July, the government has announced.

Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson confirmed the money will be available for C+E apprenticeships.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) had previously set a new level at £6,000.

However, this figure was rejected by The Trailblazer Group for Transport and Logistics who help develop apprenticeship standards.

In response, the RHA said it was pleased with the increase.

Chief executive, Richard Burnett, said the announcement was a step towards resolving the driver shortage. 

However, he also warned that more needed to be done within the industry beyond funding for apprentices.

“We’ve worked tirelessly over the last year to unblock this problem and we’re pleased that the Government has listened. 

“But, this is only one element to help tackle the growing driver shortage crisis.”

In addition, Burnett stated that the news would help companies recruit and train more drivers in the long-term.

“But the industry needs immediate help as the demand for goods increases as lockdown restrictions are lifted,” he urged.

Meanwhile, a new industry report says one in 10 logistics companies believes driver recruitment is ‘an extreme barrier’ to business recovery.

Furthermore, the Logistics Report 2021, from Logistics UK, stated that 37% of respondents believes they wouldn’t fill all vacancies this year.

The roles most unlikely to be left open include technicians, mechanics and general fitters.

Alex Veitch, general manager for public policy at Logistics UK, like Burnett, urged action. 

“Logistics UK is urging the government to provide interest free loans or grants to train or reskill potential employees. 

In conclusion, Veitch said: “We urge the government to make driver training affordable, accessible and attractive for all.”

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