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Mayor meets haulage industry leaders as Combined Authority funding continues for HGV driver training


Mayor meets haulage industry leaders as Combined Authority funding continues for HGV driver training

Mayor Dr Nik Johnson met with haulage industry leaders to find out more about HGV driver shortages as the Combined Authority gets ready to fund training for more drivers.

The Mayor met with the Road Haulage Association (RHA), on Wednesday to find out how the haulage sector is trying to address the well-publicised vacancies for trained HGV drivers which have affected supply chains up and down the country. RHA’s head-office is based in Bretton Way, Peterborough.

In October the Combined Authority announced that it was funding training for HGV drivers as part of its devolved responsibility for the adult education budget for the region. It used its budget flexibilities to react to the shortages and provide training for up to 45 new drivers. The training has been delivered through Peterborough College and independent provider, System Group.

So far, a cohort of 20 trainees have started on the programmes, with a second group starting in January. Now a fresh cohort of trainees will be given the skills needed to become HGV drivers, particularly younger adults and people looking for a new career.

The Mayor and Richard Smith, Managing Director from RHA, agreed to continue close working to ensure the Combined Authority-funded driver training continues to meet the needs of employers and developing the training for the sector in Peterborough.

The courses are free* and trainees must be aged over 19 and live in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

Mayor Dr Johnson said:

“Our work to improve skills in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough is informed by employers, so it was great to meet with the RHA and find out more about the HGV driver situation direct from industry.

“I’m very concerned about shortages of HGV drivers because not only is it holding back industry and the wider economy, it also has a direct impact on lives if people can’t get the goods they need.

“The Combined Authority is able to support the situation with the flexible use of our adult education budget, funding courses to help both reduce the driver shortages and also help local people into jobs where there is sky-high demand.

“I want to continue to work with the RHA to ensure we can support an industry which is a key employer in our region, helping to provide the skills it needs now and in the future. I also look to work with RHA and their members to champion improvements to the health and wellbeing of drivers and to look at how the haulage industry is improving fuel efficiency, reducing emissions and the impact on the environment.”

The Combined Authority, through its Growth Works With Skills programme, has also been working with local employers to see what support can be offered to meet the need for HGV drivers. Growth Works with Skills also shows people routes into HGV driving and obtaining a licence. The platform also has all vacancies listed.

The Combined Authority initiatives sit alongside work the Government is doing nationally to tackle driver shortages.

* In the case of the System Group training, the courses are free for those out of work or currently earning less than £20,000 per year.