Securing the Future of Driving Talent
The driving and logistics sector was already in the midst of one of the UK’s biggest skills deficits before the COVID-19 pandemic hit our shores. A rising reliance on e-commerce services, a lack of industry appeal to younger workers and a perceived shortage of career progression opportunities have all raised drivers to one of the UK’s most sought-after skillsets. Add a looming Brexit deadline and a global pandemic into the equation – where our reliance on drivers has seen them elevated to key-worker status – and it’s clear to see how this industry is undergoing a ‘perfect storm’ of talent shortages. In fact, the Freight and Transport Association currently estimates the industry has a shortage of roughly 59,000 workers in the UK.
“For years we had been seeing the pool of available drivers stretch thinner, without any adequate solution to remedying the driver shortage for businesses,” says Tom Buckell, National Accounts and Logistics Director at ManpowerGroup. “We wanted to offer organisations access to a more sustainable, reliable and on-demand pipeline of talent.”
It’s precisely the backdrop that encouraged Manpower to do something to tackle the shortage. In 2019, we launched our Driver Academy, a specialist programme where aspiring drivers can get the training expertise needed to launch a driving career safely, coupled with the employment support and access to industry-leading clients. It aims to create the next generation of driving talent for the UK, bridging candidates from all career paths and walks of life into a satisfying career in logistics.
“We’ve seen first-hand in the academy how entrants come through with previous skills, build up their driving and logistics capabilities, and go on to bring a wealth of experience to their roles as drivers. By helping them bridge into new roles in logistics, we’re helping create the next generation of driving talent. This will be crucial in the coming years as we experience a rising redeployment of workers across the UK towards sectors with more demand, like driving.”
One recent Level 2 LGV Driver Academy graduate, Michael Wright, had previously been working in the catering industry and was looking for a new career avenue when the programme presented itself. “I had always wanted to pursue a career in driving, but also felt that the timing and up-front fee was a barrier into the sector. That all changed when I was offered the opportunity to enroll in the Driver Academy.”
Michael graduated the programme in July 2019 and has since been forging his way into the sector. “It’s been a hugely important stepping stone into the industry. The programme was thorough and covered everything I needed to safely launch a career as a qualified driver.”
Since graduating, Michael has been busy gaining a foothold in the industry by assisting on a number of driving roles in his region. “I’m currently supporting my local council as part of their recycling operations as they increase activity throughout the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s a nice, busy pace which I enjoy, but the main benefit has been the flexibility – it’s been great to be able to have more time to spend with friends and family. I have much more free time than in my previous roles.”
If you’re interested in learning more about the Manpower Driver Academy, visit manpowergroup.co.uk/driver-academy/.