Boost for bus, coach and HGV driver recruitment with proposed reforms to training rules
Proposed reforms to driver training rules aim to boost the number of HGV, bus, and coach drivers, benefiting the UK's supply chain and economy.
The changes aim to make it more affordable and efficient for drivers to renew their qualifications or re-enter the industry. The consultation suggests reforms to the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC), a qualification required by lorry, bus, coach, and minibus drivers.
The reforms include introducing e-learning and a shorter periodic test, potentially saving time and money for employees and companies. These changes will also facilitate the return of former drivers to the sector.
Roads Minister Richard Holden said: “Lorry, bus and coach drivers are some of our economy’s unsung heroes, keeping our goods flowing and ensuring people can hop on the bus to access shops, schools, hospitals and all the essential services they need. That’s why we must look at how we can support the continued growth of this industry.
“These reforms are yet another example of how we can make the most of our Brexit freedoms to make lorry and bus driver training, in some cases, cheaper and more proportionate so we can retain and attract more people to the sector and continue to grow our resilient supply chain.”
DCPC currently requires passing four tests and renewing every 5 years with 35 hours of training, costing up to £500 per training. However, the industry is concerned about the high costs, limited flexibility, and lengthy training that make it challenging to retain and attract drivers. The proposed changes prioritize safety and will be delivered by DVSA to maintain existing training standards. This consultation is part of the government's efforts to support the haulage sector and address the HGV driver shortage.
Road Haulage Association Managing Director, Richard Smith, said: “We welcome the news that DfT is consulting on proposed DCPC reform to offer more choice and flexibility for drivers. This is a key priority for us as we continue to look for ways to tackle skills shortages in the transport sector. We look forward to reflecting our members’ views in the weeks ahead.”
Reforms will establish a National DCPC for use in Great Britain and potentially Northern Ireland. The International DCPC will remain for EU travel and be recognized for journeys within the UK. The Government is taking actions to support the haulage sector, including providing HGV driver training places, increasing HGV driver tests, and launching the Future of Freight plan. Consequently, there has been a significant increase in new HGV drivers passing their driving tests, with a 59% rise in HGV tests conducted by the DVSA between April and September 2022 compared to pre-pandemic levels in 2019.
Graham Vidler, Chief Executive of the Confederation of Passenger Transport, said: “We welcome the Department of Transport listening to bus and coach operators’ calls for a package of policies to improve driver recruitment and retention. The consultation to simplify the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence renewal process is a positive step and we will work with CPT members to develop our response.”
This news story has been produced by Chesil Radio's News Team, for more information please visit: https://www.chesilradio.com