New initiative launched to train HGV drivers at Peterborough College
Peterborough College is gearing up to launch HGV driver training courses in a bid to ease the growing crises over supply shortages.
The college will initially look to offer 20 training places but hopes that number will grow over time.
The initiative is being funded by the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority through its adult education budget.
In addition, the authority has commissioned independent training provider, System Group, to train more local HGV drivers.
The System Group will work with local employers through a Sector-based Work Academy Programme (SWAP), to identify suitable candidates and train them to get their HGV licence.
In total, both programmes will train an initial 45 HGV drivers.
The courses are free and trainees must be aged over 19 and live in the county.
The move comes as concerns grow over a national shortfall of 100,000 HGV drivers - with about 500 registered vacancies in the county - which has disrupted the supply chains that keep shops and petrol stations stocked with food and fuel.
The shortage of HGV drivers has been blamed on the impact of Brexit, Covid-19 and the fact that many truckers are aged 55 and above and coming up to retirement but not enough younger drivers are coming through to replace them.
There are also concerns over perceptions about HGV drivers’ working hours, pay, and conditions.
Alison Fox Executive Director, Business Development, at Peterborough College, said: “The College has developed a programme to engage, train and support individuals who would like to work in the haulage industry and achieve their HGV licence.
“This training will be fully funded and is available to residents of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough who are over 19 with a full driving licence.
“Initially, there are 20 places available but it is anticipated that this opportunity will be extended.”
Combined Authority Mayor Dr Nik Johnson said: “We’re doing our bit by training up more drivers locally, supporting local employers who desperately need new staff, and helping people into good jobs and careers.
“It’s a great example of the benefit of local control of skills – we are flexible, we know our region, and we have good relationships with local training providers, colleges and employers to ensure that our funding makes the biggest difference possible.
He added: “Our Adult Education Budget has been refocused on giving people the skills they need to improve their lives, while also supporting employers to fill vacancies.
He added: “We have refocused some of our budget into areas which have the lowest levels of skills – especially Peterborough and Fenland – to help people and support communities.”
Claire Lee, commercial director for System Group, said: “We are seeing a skills gap in the logistics sector, as demand has increased due to more people choosing to shop online and the driver shortages we are facing.
“Our programmes have been developed to directly support the impact of the national driver shortage and build a sustainable pipeline of tomorrow’s drivers.”
The new training courses are the second major initiative in the county to recruit more HGV drivers.
Last week, the Road Haulage Association launched its national roadshow in Peterborough as it seeks to tackle the driver shortage.