The HGV Driver Shortages have eased but for how long?
Return to ‘dangerously low number of professional drivers’
A driver training expert is warning that he expects to see a return to ‘dangerously
low numbers of professional drivers within the next three to five years’.
It comes after major efforts following Covid have seen the driver shortage ease -
helping to keep the nation’s logistics industry moving. But Steve Dulson of Dulson
Training says the signs are already there of worrying times ahead.
He said: “Pre 2020 we saw IR35 tax changes for self employed drivers and driver
agencies, Brexit and an ageing driver group heading into the pandemic, meaning the
driver shortage went from concerning to crippling for the UK within a few months.
“We then saw no training or testing for almost two full years due to Covid, followed
by the scrapping of the B+E test, removing the staging for LGV and allowing you to
go from car to Class 1 without taking a Class 2. It was a huge move aimed at getting
more drivers onto the road more quickly.
“The Government provided funding for its Skills Bootcamp programme which started
last year and continued into 2023 and this has had a significant impact in helping to
reduce the driver shortage - but there have been flaws with the funding which has
seen many training providers both local and national, big and small, forced into
“Normal service is now resuming and the driver shortage and national promotion of
careers in logistics has reduced. Funding has slowed and a more reasonable steady
flow of learners has resumed, but with demand for drivers reducing temporarily there
are already heavy indicators that within the next three to five years we will be back to
dangerously low numbers.
“The age of the average driver is still over 55 and more drivers are retiring and
leaving the industry than are joining - which is something that needs to be addressed
to avoid more looming chaos.
“At Dulson Training we have moved and adapted to every change and have
maintained an excellent grasp of what was going on and how things were likely to
look going forward. We are proud of this and feel we are operating normally now.
“Many training providers have been caught off guard with growth based on the long
term and not enough on the here and now. We have some exciting contracts starting
and with the opening of two new sites we are on track to hit our future development
Mr Dulson said 2023 had seen Dulson Training secure new sites in Ludlow, on the
Herefordshire border, in Willenhall, West Midlands and at Llay Wrexham - which is
creating more accessible training opportunities for learners alongside existing
training and testing centres in Shrewsbury and Telford
“We have recently upskilled five members of staff as part of a restructure which
ensures our instructors and staff are always kept up to date with changing trends
and techniques - resulting in training being delivered to the highest standard,” he
“We joined forces with the Government to ensure hundreds of HGV learners left high
and dry when a national training provider went into administration could resume their
licence acquisition courses.
“It meant working closely with the Department for Education resulting in us signing a
new ‘Rescue Contract’ to carry out the training programme, helping learners
complete their training and pass their test to get them out on the road.
“These are exciting times for the company as our centres continue to deliver on our
commitment to run all categories of lorry and bus licence acquisition courses,
including B+E safe towing and MHE including Lorry Mounted Crane, ADR, Driver
CPC Periodic and Level 3 Emergency First Aid at Work courses.”