Wells was giving evidence to the Transport Committee, which is investigating factors affecting recruitment and retention – and the effectiveness of mitigating measures by industry and government.
“During the hearing, we highlighted the vital role the freight and logistics industry plays in supporting the economy, and FTA will continue to encourage the government to fully understand how truck drivers contribute in delivering the goods,” comments Wells.
Specifically, he says that FTA pressed the committee to consider the inclusion of driver training in the industry-led apprenticeship Trailblazer scheme ahead of imposing the apprenticeship levy.
The Association also outlined the urgent need for improvements to driver facilities across the UK, and called for the removal of cost barriers to encourage would-be drivers.
FTA estimates that the industry is currently short of 45,000 professional HGV drivers and adds that there are problems recruiting in other areas – including engineering and warehousing.
The FTA is staging a Logistics Skills Summit on 17 March 2016, entitled Attract, Recruit, Retain, to highlight the issue.
The event at Coventry’s Ricoh Arena follows last year’s Driver Crisis Summit, which attracted more than 600 delegates.
It is free to attend and will include information on recruiting Armed Forces leavers and EU workers.
To register for a free place, go to the FTA website www.fta.co.uk/events