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The main barriers citied by both transport operators and drivers themselves are the financial implications of licence acquisition. As well as all the training and tests involved, costs of medicals and tachograph cards soon mount up, making the option of driving as a career financially nviable for some due to these mammoth upfront fees. The rise in living wage has also opened up more options for low skilled jobs requiring no preliminary financial investment that can be seen as safer, more predictable careers, further fuelling the skilled driver shortfall.
In a bid to attract fresh talent to the industry and tackle the dilemma head on, AKW offer a salary sacrifice driver training scheme, where you can learn whilst you earn to achieve each category of HGV licence.
Sam Mitchell, who’s recently undertaken on the job training with AKW via this scheme, comments, ‘Although I achieved A levels and came from a Public Sector background, I’ve always been interested in Transport and becoming a Driver. I was attracted to AKW by its modern fleet and convenient central location on Trafford Park. I was overjoyed when I discovered there was the opportunity to earn while you learn; I don’t know how I would have achieved my licences otherwise. I feel it’s been the best way I could excel and learn more about the operation. I’ve really enjoyed gaining knowledge and experience whilst building relationships throughout the company; I’d like to progress to a supervisory role in the next 5 years, and feel with the training opportunities I have been given and ongoing support from AKW, this is more than achievable’.
Removing the financial barriers to achieving the required licences is a sure-fire way to help bridge the gap, and pressure is now being put on the government as well as individual operators to provide alternative funding solutions.
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