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Given the government’s recent affirmation that it has no intention of establishing a fund that would make HGV and PCV driving more affordable, the haulage and transport industries have to continue looking for other ways to get new drivers trained and into the workforce. One idea being bandied about is that of establishing lorry and coach driver training apprenticeship programmes through individual companies. The question is, are such apprenticeships economically feasible for companies of all sizes?

A recent article published by the Liverpool Echo highlights a group of youngsters currently enrolled in apprenticeships through Stagecoach, the well-known bus company and one of the UK’s most important employers. The five young men in the apprenticeship programme will spend the next 3 to 4 years learning all the details of their chosen trades.

As successful as those apprenticeships may be, there is one major drawback: none of the apprentices are, to our knowledge, training to be professional coach drivers. Rather, they are training to be engineers and mechanics. Such workers are definitely needed by the haulage and transport industries. Yet we are interested in drivers.

Driver Training Programmes Are Costly

Establishing lorry and coach driver training apprenticeship programmes may seem a good idea. However, doing so is extremely costly for several reasons. First, it is impossible for a driver trainer to teach 5 to 10 apprentices simultaneously with the same efficiency that can be applied to teaching mechanical repairs. To be effective, an apprenticeship programme for drivers would require multiple instructors so that each student could get as much one-on-one instruction as possible. That costs a lot of money.

Second, commercial drivers need to pass a series of four exams before they can get their driving licences. A tremendous amount of information has to be learned if students are to pass those tests, making apprenticeship programmes impractical without spending an enormous sum of money developing a fast training programme.

The cost of commercial driver training is one of the reasons the logistics industry has been pressing the government for financial assistance. We cannot imagine that many companies would not mind the opportunity to provide their own training, via in-house lorry and coach driver training apprenticeship programmes, if they had the financial resources to do so. But most do not.

Looking for More Solutions

Apprenticeships may be part of the equation in the future, but for now, the industry is continuing to look for more viable solutions. It is just not possible for companies to rely heavily on apprenticeship programmes to fill vacant positions, even if those programmes were available. The fact that they are not dictates companies must direct their energies elsewhere.

The HGV Training Centre can help by offering effective, low-cost training for both individual and company drivers. Our lorry and coach driver training programmes are among the best in the business, preparing future drivers to get to work as productive and reliable professionals. We will continue training drivers for a long time to come.

Sources:

  1. Liverpool Echo – http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/business/bus-company-stagecoach-puts-youngsters-10834713

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