Skills Gap Concerns For UK’s Freight Industry

The latest Skills and Employment Report 2020 from Logistics UK has warned that there is a growing skills gap within the country’s freight industry and called on the government to take action to help train up more HGV drivers.

According to the business group that represents the country’s logistics sector, a combination of Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic has put pressure on the underlying skills shortages within the industry.

As a result, the organisation is calling on the government to provide grants or interest-free loans to support HGV driver training.

It also wants to see an “urgent catch up of HGV driver tests cancelled due to Covid-19”, as well as reform to the apprenticeship levy.

Director of policy at Logistics UK Elizabeth de Jong said that there is a total shortage of 76,000 HGV drivers alone in the country at present and therefore urged the government to “take immediate action to address the long-term structural issues with the labour market”.

The Logistics UK report found that there was a 6.7 per cent decrease in the number of HGV drivers operating in the UK in the second quarter of 2020, compared to the same period a year earlier.

This comes as logistics firms are facing issues due to delays at UK ports caused by both the pandemic and Brexit. The Guardian reported that retailers, along with food and drink companies, have called on MPs to launch an urgent enquiry into the disruption that’s been caused at the country’s ports in recent weeks.

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