New apprenticeship set to attract younger drivers in bid to tackle HGV crisis

A new apprenticeship will help ease the shortage of heavy goods vehicles (HGV) drivers across the UK by making the profession more attractive to a new generation of drivers in time for the busy Christmas period.

The Urban Driver Apprenticeship, delivered by apprenticeships and skills expert Seetec Outsource, has been designed to help ease the driver shortage and encourage new and younger drivers into the ageing HGV workforce.

An estimated 268,000 people were employed as HGV drivers between July 2020 and June 2021. This is 39,000 fewer than in the previous year and a staggering 53,000 fewer than the peak for HGV driver employment four years ago.

The Urban Driver Apprenticeship focuses on short-haul journeys in towns and cities that often do not require overnight routes and it is hoped this will attract potential candidates who may have steered away from traditional HGV work patterns in the past.

The apprenticeship will provide drivers with the opportunity to gain a Class 2 license for vehicles weighing between 3.5 and 32 tonnes in as little as four to six months.

One company that has been quick to commit to this new apprenticeship is Breedon, one of the UK’s leading providers of construction materials. The company is currently recruiting over 20 new apprentices for its sites across the UK.

Stewart Hook, Breedon Learning & Development Manager explains: “This new apprenticeship standard is perfect for our needs. We want to develop the sustainability of our professional driver workforce, and the Urban Driver Apprenticeship provides us with the mechanism to attract young people into a career with Breedon.”

Martin Sheppard, Quality Lead and Sector Specialist for HGV at Seetec Outsource said: “We are using education and skills to help give the HGV industry an overhaul. The new Urban Driver Apprenticeship can provide a new generation of drivers with more flexible working patterns and a better work-life balance in a profession that isn’t often associated with such benefits. We know that only around 20% of HGV drivers are aged between 16 to 35 years old, compared to 36% of the general working population being made up of this age group.

“We hope that by working with the Institute for Apprenticeships and listening to both employers and employees this new apprenticeship can help address the shortages and get the HGV industry back on the road.”

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