A Somerset-based haulage company has attracted new staff by offering a 28 percent increase in wages.
Willmotts Transport said that they have paused recruitment after hiring 12 new drivers in 2022.
In a statement published on the BBC News website, the Head of Human Resources at Willmotts Transport, Jess Rogers, said: ‘We’ve had younger people, people looking for a change of career, they may have been affected by COVID and lost their jobs. Now this has come along, and they want to get out there and earn some money on the road.’
The company’s policy reflects an industry-wide requirement to plug gaps in driver recruitment and training caused by post-COVID factors including staff resignations and pent-up demand for services.
To address the shortfall in driver numbers, the government launched a series of skills bootcamps designed to attract new entrants and encourage “lapsed” drivers to return to the industry. The bootcamps are run in partnership with training providers and are fully funded for eligible applicants. One consortium providing government-backed driver training services – the Driver Academy Group – revealed that nearly 600 drivers had either passed their HGV tests or were ready to take their tests.
A spokesperson for The Workers Union said: ‘We are pleased to see that the haulage sector is working with political decision-makers to provide solutions to the driver recruitment crisis. It is a long-standing problem that requires long-term solutions.’
The Workers Union Says…
The growth in new entrants to the HGV driving industry is a tribute to partnership working across the sector and a show of faith in British hauliers. However, the gains made in recent months will seem like hollow victories if talent continues to leach away into other professions.
HGV drivers face complex challenges every day of their working lives. Time-pressures, difficult driving conditions, angry clients and mental and physical exhaustion are ever-present realities. A lack of roadside facilities compounds these problems, with many drivers complaining that lorry parks are packed and plagued by poor infrastructure.
These issues must be addressed before this new generation of drivers drift away in search of better conditions.