Backline Training is Booming, with New Recruits and the announcement of Additional Government Support

The haulage industry is vital to the UK economy. It’s an integral part of domestic supply chains with links across many sectors, from food supplies and medical products, to manufacturing and construction.
Historically, there has been a shortage of qualified HGV Drivers, which has increased from an estimated 45,000 in 2016 to 76,000 today, with some industry bodies claiming it’s currently as high as 90,000.
The shortage of drivers has been amplified since the Covid-19 pandemic as test centres had to close down, putting a stop on theoretical and practical hgv driver training.

“Statistics from the Government show that the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) is now carrying out 3,000 tests per day*, but with such a backlog to work through, the impact of Covid-19 is still negatively affecting the industry six months on from emerging from lockdown,” said Sam Hay, Training Manager at Backline Training.
“The good news for us is that we’re seeing an increase in driver acquisition training, with more people looking to move into the haulage industry as a career choice, which is a sensible option if you’re looking for stability and consistent income as the haulage industry continues to grow stronger.”

On 20th July 2021, the Secretary of State announced a package of support measures that will help address the HGV driver shortage.
As part of that, a new consultation will be launched to allow drivers to take one test to drive both an articulated lorry and a rigid lorry. This will streamline the process for new drivers to obtain their HGV license and increase lorry test availability.
The consultation will also look at allowing trainers to actually examine drivers in the off-road maneuvers part of the HGV drivers test.

“This new consultation from the Government will help the haulage industry go from strength to strength, as demand currently far outweighs supply, and if that doesn’t change soon it will have a monumental effect on supply chains globally, not just in the UK.
However, there have been some very mixed views from our drivers as well as our clients. Some are delighted that these changes have been made and will speed up the process of addressing the current bottleneck, but naturally there are concerns around the potential compromises on quality and possible risk to safety,” added Sam.

The training team at Backline Logistics will continue to perform the high standards of training that they always have done, taking the new consultation into consideration, and ensure that all their newly qualified drivers are as competent as they need to be on and off the road.
An up-to-date list of our current training schemes can be found on the website, along with the criteria needed.
*Source: Changes to HGV and bus driving tests and allowing car drivers to tow a trailer without an extra test. More details on the Government consultation can be found here.