As the country’s main supply line, HGV traffic forms the mobile backbone of the UK economy and its ability to trade with European partners. It’s no surprise then that the much-publicized shortage of truckers in recent years has caused serious problems.
At the height of the shortage, at the end of 2021, the shortfall was estimated to be between 60,000 and 100,000 drivers in the UK. Now, with rampant inflation and an energy crisis, it’s imperative to get supply lines back under control and get goods moving across the country.
However, the price of HGV training courses can be a barrier for many potential drivers. Flexible funding options can help increase uptake of the training needed to overcome the UK HGV driver shortage. This will solve a national problem and at the same time help people earn money for a better standard of living.
How did we get here?
The trucker shortage across the UK is not a new phenomenon. An aging population of heavy-duty truck operators has seen a retirement crisis looming for many years. At the same time, the industry has been struggling to attract younger people, often due to start-up costs and the time associated with obtaining proper licenses and training.
The problem had been masked in the sector by the fact that a large number of drivers were EU workers, many of whom returned to their home countries after Brexit. Research shows that the number of employed HGV drivers in the UK has fallen by 30,300 in the first quarter of this year. The growth of e-commerce and online grocery shopping has put increased pressure on supply chains. In short, more and more of the country’s population relies on an understaffed occupation: heavy-duty truck drivers.
Providing sustainable solutions
The problem has been noted by both the public and private sectors and a combination of legislation and salary increases have made some difference in increasing the number of new recruits. However, the government’s granting of temporary visas from the end of 2021 showed little success, showing that the focus should be on local training rather than temporary recruitment abroad.
This month, the government announced proposed changes to the testing regulation which can make training courses easier and shorter for new applicants, removing any bottlenecks in the process. However, one of the simpler problems is the cost of driver training.
This is where financing options can make a real difference and help support the service sector, especially in times when customers are facing a cost of living crisis.
Flexible Finance Powering Supply Chains
Offering an affordable payment structure to people who want to (re)train as truck drivers will provide a simple and quick solution to the affordability issues facing potential drivers.
Financial providers like Deko, which offer a multi-product, multi-lender platform, can ease the cost burden for new drivers. Importantly, this will also be an important support for retailers, as better payment options will help empower providers to increase demand.
Deko, with its multi-lender offering, can cover a wide range of basket sizes and therefore a wide range of courses. This is different from traditional financial providers who have limited coverage, both in terms of basket size and payment terms.
Providing a solution
By dividing payments into multiple installments, financing providers like Deko can make a real difference in attracting new employees across the country. This is critical to solving the retirement crisis among truckers and gives an entire generation the ability to get the right training at the right cost.
Importantly, improved payment options may hold the key to helping a large part of the UK population upskill in the face of a cost of living crisis. This can ease the transition to a new career, raising people’s wages and increasing demand for training centers across the country.
Author: Huw Phillips, Sales Manager