The Department for Transport has announced the government’s package of measures intended to address the current HGV driver shortage in the lead up to Christmas. They include free intensive HGV driver training, short-term visas for overseas drivers, using MOD examiners to test civilian drivers and writing to a million HGV licence holders to encourage them back to the industry.
3,000 places will be available on new Skills Bootcamps organized by the Department for Education to provide short, intensive courses to gain Cat. C and C&E licences, with a further 1,000 courses accessed locally and funded by the government’s adult education budget. ADR qualifications will also be fast-tracked to provide more tanker drivers. Funding for the training and medical costs for HGV qualifications accessed through the Adult Education Budget in 2021/22 will be paid by the government, and will be backdated for those who began such training since 1 August 2021.
The DfT has obtained an agreement with DVSA to reduce the backlog of already trained candidates awaiting a test appointment. To provide further testing capacity over the next 12 weeks, the Ministry of Defence is immediately deploying its Defence Driving Examiners. The measures are intended to deliver 1,000 additional test slots per week.
One million HGV licence holders will shortly receive a letter thanking those still driving for their support for the economy, and encouraging inactive drivers to return to the industry by highlighting what it is doing to improve pay and conditions. However, a separate release giving advice on returning to driving makes it clear that the Driver CPC is staying.
5,000 short-term visas for overseas drivers to work in the fuel tanker and food distribution sectors (plus another 5,500 poultry workers) will be available from October until 24 December, and will be processed “in a timely manner”.