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£1 Million Boost For Road Haulage Industry

The government has just announced that £1 million will be made available to West Sussex road haulage companies and others around the rest of the UK, as part of the nationwide Road to Logistics programme, designed to help support people who may struggle to secure permanent jobs.

These include the likes of ex-offenders, veterans and anyone in long-term unemployment, helping to direct them towards a career in transport.

Investment from the Department for Transport will mean that logistics companies all over the country will be able to recruit new talent, bolster its workforce and run skills training for certain demographics, including people within the prison system. It should also help the sector deal with a UK-wide shortage of drivers.

Road to Logistics itself is a not-for-profit organisation that is open to all hauliers, helping them find new logistics professionals by providing support and training to anyone struggling to find permanent employment. Although employment has been climbing in the transport and logistics sector since 2010, it has seen a recent drop. There are now almost 1.5 million working in this particular industry.

Making the funding announcement, transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “Our dynamic road transport sector moves more than 1.4 billion tonnes of goods across the country every year, so we need to make sure it is fit for the future.

“Not only will this new programme help make this industry even stronger, but it will help pave the way for those who may be struggling to secure a permanent job and turn their lives around.”

After a successful trial alongside HM Prison Sudbury, intending to train up to 300 drivers in the first year. The plan will see serving prisoners put in touch with possible employers, undertaking training and gaining qualifications, including their driving tests. They will then have a guaranteed job upon release, helping them to transform their lives.

Veterans charity SWSRNR is also is also helping tackle the haulage driver shortage by providing training and job opportunities for unemployed military veterans.

Speaking to the Sunday Post, former reservist Robin Hood explained that the UK is 85,000 lorry drivers short at the moment but this is expected to rise to 100,000 by this time next year. But there are 40,000 veterans on the dole currently so it’s “common sense” to provide them with training in this regard, since it solves two problems at once.

Mr Hood recently received a grant of £52,000 a year for three years (matched by the charity) to help put veterans through driver training. He now plans to put 10,000 people through training so they can gain employment in the haulage industry.

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