One key factor hindering the recruitment of new drivers in the logistics industry is the lack of real life experience. Although the industry is currently experiencing an acute driver shortage, there is a pool of new drivers with LGV licences that struggle to find employment due to a lack of experience. Skills for Logistics has developed a programmed called the Experience Booster which is intended to provide a proxy for experience and will come to serve as an industry-wide standard.
As in other walks of life, there is no substitute for real experience. However, an equally important fact of life is that in a time of shortage, there is a great need that has to be fulfilled from outside the industry, stated Dr Mick Jackson, Director of Skills Development. Skills for Logistics Experience Booster gives companies the chance to minimise the risk implicit in recruiting raw talent by selecting as few or as many of its nine modules as they require in order to ensure that their staff hit the ground running and meet appropriate competency levels.
The Experience Booster consists of the following nine units providing a pick and mix of proxy for real industry experience.
1. Licence acquisition
2. Basic Skills Certification
3. Driving Goods Vehicles Vocational Qualification
4. SAFED (the Department for Transports Safe and Fuel Efficient Driving programme)
5. Customer Service
6. Working in the UK
7. Industry Knowledge
8. Site Health & Safety
9. Employees rights and responsibilities
The first three are based on the Logistics Skills Award - a successful existing Skills for Logistics initiative. The other six modules have been added in response to requests from potential employers of newly qualified drivers. Many of the modules can be delivered before the potential employee has a single driving lesson providing them with an accurate idea of what a driving career entails. This is expected to reduce subsequent drop-out rates.
By providing the SAFED module immediately after the successful test pass, industry is not allowing bad habits to creep in and ensures that drivers are provided with the knowledge to drive safely and efficiently from day one. Skills for Logistics is recommending that the SAFED training is carried out (where possible) on laden vehicles unlike the driving test. All of this adds valuably to the experience proxy.
A pilot project has been launched for ex MG Rover employees with 300 currently training to become LGV drivers. Skills for Logistics plans to introduce the scheme to additional industry employers in the near future.