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UK drivers need to pick up speed or Britain could face empty shelves

03 November 2011

Britain's truck drivers are falling behind schedule to meet the professional training requirements required by EU directive 2003/59 that has been introduced to develop and maintain high driving standards and improve road safety.

On 18th October 2011, key industry leaders and training providers heard that unless the UK's more than 400,000 freight drivers pick up momentum on the mandatory Driver CPC training, Britain may be facing a gap of 30% fewer drivers when the first five year cycle completes in September 2014.

And this, combined with an aging driving population and alarmingly few younger Britons choosing the transport sector for their career path, retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers may be facing a transportation crisis.

Despite some drivers speculating that the Driver CPC requirement may be retracted, this is far from the government's plans. The regulation is here to stay as a platform for making the freight and transport industry a more appealing, career option for future generations and to progressively demonstrate the high standards of professionalism within the industry.

The Driver CPC requires that 35 hours of training are undertaken periodically over five years by September 2014, and now two years into the process it is looking like significant numbers of drivers, key to the economic health of our nation, will struggle to meet these legal requirements.

Mike Penning MP, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, expressed his concerns about the image of driving as a profession and the shortage of younger drivers in the workforce. He was very clear in his message about the future of the Driver CPC saying "There are concerns regarding the age profile of drivers. We want to work together and get drivers fit for what they do, and encourage young people to the profession. This skills shortage needs to be addressed and the Driver CPC is an important part of this. He concluded, "I want to be very clear, the Driver CPC is here to stay - It is not going anywhere and there will not be an amnesty."

Dr Mick Jackson, Chief Executive, Skills for Logistics, said "The UK transport industry faces an increasingly global context for business with goods arriving through a very long supply chain often starting in Asia or South America. The projection for Driver CPC training shows that unless our operators change the speed with which they are training their drivers, the UK will face a fall in drivers by 30% by 2014."

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