As the removals and transport industry contend with the increasing shortage of HGV drivers, West Midlands-based Burke Bros Moving Group has created its own solution to the skills shortage and decided to grow its own talent.
Burke Bros said it had a successful last financial year but was hindered by the shortage of qualified drivers. As a result, the company has invested in developing its existing removal crews by enabling non-driving employees to train for and acquire van and HGV licences.
Gary Burke, Managing Director explained, “As we expanded our fleet to service a number of contracts, we needed to expand our pool of HGV class one and class two drivers, as well as porters. In the current climate HGV drivers are becoming increasingly hard to recruit. The existing HGV driver population is ageing and there are not enough young people coming through to fill the void. We also realise that the cost of licence acquisition can be a barrier to those in the industry progressing into drivers. We decided to bridge the skills gap by making the investment in our own crews and grow our own talent!”
The Freight Transport Association (FTA) estimates there is a shortfall of 43,000 - 45,000 HGV drivers and the Road Haulage Association (RHA) has suggested it is closer to 60,000. The driver shortage is believed to be increasing as the number of drivers retiring from the industry exceeds new entrants.
Dave Colley, Burke Bros’ Operations Manager added, “We’ve already put six of our porters through licences to drive our small packing vans and after several months experience driving the smaller vans, we’ve successfully put four drivers through their HGV class 2 licences to drive our large multi-purpose road vans. We’re looking to continue rolling this training out to keep developing our staff.”
Alongside developing its existing removals staff, Burke Bros Moving Group is continuing to recruit HGV class one and two drivers and porters.
Photo: Left to right: removal crew members; Tom Asprey, Chris Davies, Amir Cullen and Steve Ball completing HGV driver training.