The UK government has just launched a £1m ($1.2m) fund to help boost recruitment in the haulage industry in a bid to tackle the nationwide shortage of lorry drivers, also known as truckers.
Almost 1.5 million people work in the industry. Government figures show that while employment in the transport and logistics sector has risen since 2010, there has been a recent fall in numbers.
The money from the Department of Transport will help fund the Road to Logistics programme which aims to support those who may find it difficult to get permanent jobs — such as ex-offenders. The investment will also allow logistics companies to train these groups of people, including within the prison system.
There was a successful trial of the programme at HM Prison Sudbury, where the shceme helped train up 300 drivers in the first year. The plan also will see prisoners linked with potential employers, undergo training, gain qualifications, a driving licence, and ultimately a guaranteed job on release.
“Our dynamic road transport sector moves more than 1.4 billion tonnes of goods across the country every year, so we need to make sure it is fit for the future,” said Transport Secretary Grant Shapps.
“Not only will this new programme help make this industry even stronger, but it will help pave the way for those who may be struggling to secure a permanent job and turn their lives around.”
Veterans and the long-term unemployed will also be targeted in the recruitment drive.