Attract Newly Qualified Drivers to End HGV Crisis, says expert
As businesses all around the United Kingdom continue to struggle with increased haulage costs and the HGV driver crisis, road transport recruitment expert Marc Fels has taken the media by storm with his practical solutions for solving these problems.
A key influencer in the HGV recruitment sector, Fels’ campaigning has attracted a flurry of media attention, including interviews on Newsnight, BBC Breakfast, LBC and Alastair Stewart on GB News.
With an ageing, disenfranchised HGV driver pool, Fels believes the only answer to the current crisis is for sector to embrace newly qualified HGV drivers. Fels says:
“New drivers have been shunned in the past for not having previous experience, being told to go away get some experience and then come back. This is a double-edged sword. How are new drivers meant to get experience if nobody will give them a chance in the first place.”
“As we move into 2022, we cannot rely on foreign labour and the current driver pool is ageing with an average age of 56. Many more will retire in the coming years making the supply of new drivers more important than ever.”
“Newly qualified drivers are self-funded, come with no bad driving habits, are generally more grateful for the work and stay in their position for longer.”
“Industry needs to wake up to these facts fast or risk the ongoing crisis lasting many years into the future.”
Fels, who runs HGV Recruitment Centre, is also campaigning for the government to fix the HGV driver recruitment crisis once and for all by changing HGV driving from NVQ2 status to NVQ3. This way, new entrants to the profession will be able to access adequate funding for training.
In his interviews, Fels has explained that many young people are "desperate" to get into the industry but cannot afford the thousands of pounds it costs to get an HGV license.
Fels says: “There’s not just a fuel tanker driver shortage, I’ve got umpteen clients in construction who are screaming out for drivers because construction is also busy.”
“We can put a plaster on the wound by begging lorry drivers to come back, increase driver wages or bring in some foreign drivers in on temporary visas, but these can only ever short-term measures.”
“If we don’t start a conversation about how we are going to bring new blood into this industry then we will be talking about the same issues next year, the year after that and the year after that.”
Fels also says the government must do more to ensure that parking areas and motorway service stations provide clean areas for drivers to eat, rest, wash, and shower.
He believes that HGV driving, while it is highly skilled work, is currently not recognised in this way, and that poor facilities are putting off potential new drivers entering the profession.
“We should be celebrating our HGV drivers not making them sleep out of town in laybys and service stations that are not up to standard,” Fels says.