The ageing workforce in sectors such as transport and logistics and the lack of new blood coming into these industries is impacting heavily on the UK’s ability to compete globally.  Skill shortages are already rife and vacancies, particularly for HGV drivers and maintenance & repair technicians are at an all time high. And crucially, one of the major problems is the image of the industry – a career as a mechanic can be lucrative but it’s not really well publicised.

According to Skills for Logistics, the Sector Skills Council for the UK’s freight logistics industries, the transport industry is worth £74.45billion to the UK and it employs around 2.3 million people but there are major skill shortages across the sector.

“The UK is extremely dependent on the logistics industry to keep the economy moving and ensure that goods are moved from A to B in the quickest and most cost-effective way.  While the Chancellors announcement on the fuel levy will have been welcomed by many of our clients, the lack of experienced staff is still causing major headaches.” says Warren Jesse of specialist technical recruiter Excel Resourcing.

“In the HGV market we have a dire shortage of maintenance, repair and diagnostic technicians. Even if you train as a mechanic, the HGV market is very specialist – you can’t move from cars to heavy goods vehicles so what we need are more apprenticeships in the HGV market.”

Jesse adds:  “Mechanics can earn good money and there is a lot going on but it’s not well publicised as a career.  If you think about it everything we look at in a shop as a consumer has to have been taken there by a truck – it’s what keeps the economy moving.”

Jesse feels that a further increase in apprenticeships has to be the answer if we are to avoid storing up trouble for the future.  “We have an ageing workforce that just isn’t being replenished; it’s all very well the Government focussing on getting more people to university – that won’t help us when the country has no trained mechanics, electricians or drivers”