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Many of us within the logistics industry have consistently maintained that PCV and HGV driving careers are unnecessarily subject to a poor public image within the current culture. We now have the data to prove it. As part of our ongoing effort to help address the current driver shortage, we conducted our own research by interviewing 2,000 participants regarding their perceptions of HGV driving. Although the results of our research were certainly disappointing, they were by no means shocking.

Our research showed that just 20% of those between 18 and 24 would even consider an HGV driving career. The numbers go up with age; some 38% of those between 25 and 34 would consider a driving career and 35% over the age of 35 would do likewise. Unfortunately, the industry really needs young people right now. The average age of the current lorry driver is 57. That means we are on the verge of a wave of retirements that could seriously undermine logistics within the next decade. Young people are the key to keeping our industry going strong.

Our research also revealed the top reasons people reject HGV driving careers out of hand. Among those reasons are:

Perceptions among young people that training is costly are, unfortunately, correct. Most of the rest of their perceptions are not. They are the result of the poor image we have created in our blind push to get every young person to go to university. We have pursued this strategy at the expense of vocational careers that now lack adequately skilled workers

Our Plan for Industry Revitalisation

Our desire at the HGV Training Centre is to be more proactive than reactionary in nature. Not only is our primary mission one of addressing the driver shortage by training as many drivers as we possibly can, but we have also put together a three-point plan that we believe will be very effective if implemented. That plan calls for the following:

  1. The government should establish a £25 million fund dedicated to vocational training to young people wishing to embark on HGV driving careers.
  2. New driver candidates should be allowed to retake CPC tests for free if they fail on the first attempt.
  3. The UK should make a concerted effort to encourage HGV and logistics training in schools as part of a broader refocusing on vocational careers.

It is clear that PCV and HGV driving careers are suffering from an image problem in the UK. In other parts of Europe, they are working to overcome similar image problems; there is no reason we should not be doing the same here. If we fail to take the steps necessary to make HGV driving careers attractive to young people, the current shortage will eventually become unsustainable without measurable economic impacts.

Sources:

Supply Chain Digital – https://www.supplychaindigital.com/logistics/does-logistics-have-image-problem

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