Low wages, inadequate roadside facilities and poor public perception all contribute to the road transport industry’s driver shortage crisis – and a Twitter poll conducted by the Freight Transport Association (FTA) confirmed that most parents don’t want their children to become truckers.
FTA asked ‘would you encourage your son or daughter to become a truck driver?’ after a report by the Commons Transport Committee said current Government and industry measures weren’t enough to solve the crisis. A resounding 71 per cent of those who voted said they wouldn’t recommend the industry to their children.
Sally Gilson, FTA’s Skills Development Policy Manager, said: “Sadly this poll is a reflection of the public view of the industry. However, things have moved on and modern day trucks are technologically advanced and probably not what the public imagines. FTA has been working with the Government and other agencies to make logistics a more aspirational career and to improve conditions for those working in it.
“We have been campaigning for better roadside facilities for drivers – it’s just not acceptable that they can’t take their breaks in designated areas with toilets and wash rooms. The lack of facilities is certainly discouraging women from entering the profession – only one per cent of truck drivers in the UK are female.”
FTA has held driver and skills shortage summits over the past couple of years to explore solutions to the problem. To help promote the industry to the next generation, FTA has teamed up with Think Logistics to highlight the diversity of careers available in the sector to schools and colleges. Careers advice regarding logistics has been non-existent so this is vital work in order to recruit the numbers the sector needs.
A lack of vocational training for drivers and the cost of licence acquisition are also barriers to people joining the industry.
Ms Gilson said: “FTA continues to lobby the Government for a loan system that would allow young people to gain their licence. As the Transport Committee report highlighted, strong action needs to be taken to turn around the current decline. Logistics is vital to the UK economy and we need to ensure that we have enough professional drivers to fulfil the industry’s needs.”