Skills Bootcamps to tackle HGV driver shortage

Bootcamps set to train 3,000 HGV drivers, DfE say.

Bootcamps set to train 3,000 HGV drivers, DfE say.

25 Sep 2021, 22:30

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The Department for Education is to spend up to £10 million on new Skills Bootcamps to “ease the risk of shortages” of HGV drivers. 

In a package of measures announced on Saturday night, the government wants 3,000 new HGV drivers through the bootcamp route and a further 1,000 new drivers to be trained up through the adult education budget. 

A lack of drivers has been blamed for a range of distribution issues across retail for several weeks, including in supermarkets and petrol forecourts. The pandemic, Brexit and chronic workforce issues are all believed to be contributing to the current crisis.

Other measures include drafting in Ministry of Defence examiners to boost driver testing capacity are also being announced today. The Department for Transport and the DVLA have said they will send a letter to 1 million HGV driving license holders to encourage those not currently working to get back in to the industry.

The new HGV driver Skills Bootcamps will include training for a Cat C or Cat C&E license, which is required to drive vehicles weighing over 3,500kg.

DfE also hope the apprenticeship route will help to alleviate the current labour shortage. According to their statement this evening, they have been working with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education to “boost the apprenticeships on offer for large goods vehicle drivers including by updating the current Large Goods Vehicle Driver apprenticeship and increasing its funding.”

“HGV drivers keep this country running. We are taking action to tackle the shortage of drivers by removing barriers to help more people to launch new well-paid careers in the industry, supporting thousands to get the training they need to be road ready.  

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi

At the time of writing, there are 2 adverts for 9 HGV driver apprenticeship vacancies on the government’s Find an Apprenticeships service. Both offer the level 2 ‘Large goods vehicle driver C and E’ standard. To date, Skills Bootcamps are designed to be targeted at levels 3-5, though they do not have to contain qualifications. 

Skills Bootcamps are funded from the £2.5 billion National Skills Fund and are currently only available in limited sectors; construction, digital, engineering and manufacturing, green skills and rail. Programmes run for up to 16 weeks and must be designed with a guaranteed job interview in an in-demand industry. 

AELP’s chief executive Jane Hickie welcomed extra investment in Skills Bootcamps,

“Haulage shortages have been causing chaos across the country, so it’s great to see the Government taking decisive action. 

“Getting 4000 new workers trained and into quality HGV careers is a good target. Independent training providers are ready to play their part in delivering this training and are uniquely equipped to respond with agility. AELP strongly welcome the continued rollout and investment in bootcamps. We believe these are a great mechanism for training and reskilling the workforce.”

Providers for current Skills Bootcamps were selected in two ‘waves’ of procurement exercises which began in January this year. A ‘pre-procurement information notice’ was issued by the Department for Education last week, 21 September, for a possible wave 3, but it is not yet known whether this relates to HGV bootcamps announced today. 

Earlier this year, providers hoping to deliver Skills Bootcamps faced “worrying” delays in their tender outcomes, which DfE reasoned was due to the large volumes of bids received. 

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  1. This currently is very relevent to myself at the a hgv 2 driver with over 15 years experience but never needed to get my artic licence due to plenty of work on rigids.But this is changing most if not all haulage/ transport firms require you to have the artic licence which means you can drive any of their motors which makes sense but hgv 2 wages 7 months ago were max £34 k a year..or around £520 a week th.This isnt any good for no one..working out to 10/11 HR days on average so making the hourly rate around £10 pH…for driving a 26 tonne motor .Aldi or Lidl were paying more to stack shelves..add the CPC costs..min £60 every year,medicals again up to £150.. not a quick £30 one in a dodgy Travelodge,bosses pushing all day to get that extra load in.Thats for donkeys now..hence the hgv 1.. less headache & more money..I’m off work at the moment & have been for 6 monthes & just been told today I have my funding in place for the hgv 1 training & 3 days of cpc ..great..I can’t wait…granted I,l be nervous..but better to get stuck in ..just wanted to say thanks to my job centre work coach..there is just got to keep pushing.But yes the main reason for all the foreign drivers going home is being paid less than the UK drivers & the ir35 loophole re wages & no or low tax.tbeycwere earning good wages over a PAYE driver like’s expensive in the UK so why not go home to Poland,Latvia,Croatia,Spain & Romania..all great blokes but this just finished it for them.Firms have had it good over the last 20 years paying max £550 PW without nights out @£25 ..they had to do min 4 nights out to get a decent wage..of £650 PW…hence why I never wanted or needed my artic licence.Drivers now are only just being paid good money agencies are paying over £20/28 pH..more at weekends…so you really can earn good money.But the higher hourly rate means you don’t work as hard ie now looking to only do say 40 hrs a week instead of £50/60 hrs dep on hours & wtd.Firms are complaining re the increased wages…but what about the drivers & working decent toilets,parking is now an argument everywhere & no one wants you anywhere near their firm,house or are Mon £25/£35 a night…truck stops are usually full I’f out all week..Going into cities large towns now is a nightmare,weight restrictions,times for hgvs ..fines from the agency or firm if you can’t get parked up near a job,red routes etc..most firms require you to have min 2 years how’s that going to affect all us new artic drivers..who knows but I am thankful for the opportunity that I’m given.

  2. Eddie’s Lad

    Received my letter, I’ve had my class 2 entitlement for 6 years but never commercially used it so no CPC. Always wanted to do my artic C+E but was told there was no point as I wouldn’t get a job without experience. Catch 22 situation – I emailed the RHA this week regarding the apprenticeship schemes, following the links on the nice letter from Baronness Vere of Norbitton, only to be told that I wasn’t eligible for the scheme because it wasn’t intended as a fast route to HGV driving, and I already hold a class 2 license!!

    I’ve been out of work for 8 months albeit for a bit of sub contract work here and there, so I went into the job centre today to ask if there was any funding available for people like me to enable me to get my Driver CPC and upskill to Class 1, only to be told I can’t because I’m not claiming benefits!! I can’t get benefits because my household income is too much. So the only option is to fund myself – which is going to cost me £1650. At least I won’t owe anyone anything though and having met a great transport manager today, who guaranteed me a job if I put myself through my test, hopefully I should be on the road by the end of November…

    Very frustrating though – they have the nerve to ask you to consider coming back to the industry but aren’t prepared to support you to upskill. If they’d given people the opportunities way back and not destroyed the industry through bureaucracy and red tape, they’d never be in this mess. Ever heard the adage ‘putting the cart before the horse’? Well it’s more a case of trailer before the tractor on this one I think!! Needless to say, I’ve written to my MP and emailed Baroness Vere too.