Ian Studd, Director General of BAR (British Association of Removers) in the UK, has been working with the Trailblazer group to develop a new apprenticeship standard for Category C drivers, the category most appropriate for the moving industry. The new apprenticeship is expected to be approved towards the end of this summer.
Although there has been a Category C apprenticeship in the past, this was withdrawn when there was a demand from the large trucking companies for a Category C+E apprenticeship. The Category C+E category apprenticeship is now near approval, but Ian believes it is important for there to be a Category C apprenticeship as well.
“If the moving industry had been forced to go straight into the C+E Category my fear would be that we're just recruiting and training drivers for other people’s benefit,” he said. “The staple of the moving industry is still the Category C vehicle.” For there to be two separate apprenticeships it was necessary to demonstrate a clear distinction in terms of job roles and outcomes and Ian believes that this has now been achieved.
The final decision will be made by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and is expected, with funding agreed, later this year. “Both apprenticeships should be available by the end of summer and we have no reason to believe that they won't be,” said Ian.
Mags Simpson, Policy Manager at the Freight Transport Association (FTA), talking about the C+E apprenticeship standard, said that it couldn’t come fast enough for an industry plagued with skills shortages. “It is testament to the hard work of the Apprenticeships Trailblazer group, co-chaired by Jim French and Gary Austin, which we have been in constant contact with,” she said. “This new standard will give operators from across logistics the opportunity to draw down from the Apprenticeship Levy fund and start to develop the logistics stars of tomorrow – an opportunity previously denied to the industry due to the lack of appropriate standards against which to train staff.”
The FTA said that to date, the logistics sector has paid over £410 million into the Apprenticeship Levy pot, but only 10% of these funds have so far been drawn down, due, to a large extent, to the fact that no appropriate standard was available for businesses to utilise.
“We continue to work with the Trailblazer group to ensure that the sector will have access to the skilled workforce it needs moving forward,” said Mags. “Our next priority is to gain accreditation for the Urban Delivery standard (Category C), as well as progressing the Transport and Warehouse Supervisor L3 apprenticeship, which is already under way.”