The Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) campaign to ‘Solve the Driver Crisis’ culminated in a one day Industry Summit held at the Ricoh Arena, Coventry recently.
FTA put the problem of recruiting and retaining professional drivers at centre stage throughout the day, tackling the issue head-on by telling industry not to just talk about the problem – but help solve it.
The association was inundated with applications to attend the event, with over 700 registering to hear industry experts share their experiences and solutions on tackling the problem. Concerns regarding the driver shortage issue have been raised by FTA members for a long time, who have said that there is not and will not be sufficient qualified professional drivers to deliver the goods in the future.
Chairing the event was James Hookham – FTA’s Managing Director of Policy and Communications, who said:
“The shortage of qualified drivers is a problem that only the road freight industry itself can solve. The aim of the FTA Solving the Driver Crisis Summit is to help those operators who recognise they need to do more to recruit and retain drivers to learn from the experiences and practices of their peers. We have also provided guidance on the ways that government is helping and can support the industry in the future. There remains the longstanding task of improving the public’s perception of the sector and convincing prospective employees that this is a good place to work. The FTA Summit will set the agenda for the future.”
The Solving the Driver Crisis Summit, sponsored by Volvo Trucks, focused on subjects including the barriers to putting drivers on the road; how many drivers are needed to fill the void; how to change the image of the freight and logistics industry; broadening the appeal of driving and the best methods of recruiting and retaining drivers.
Key speakers who contributed during the event included Esther McVey – Minister of State for Employment, Rob Flello MP, and Peter Carroll – special advisor to Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP, who discussed the Government’s perception of driving as a profession, and how it can support raising awareness of the shortfall of qualified professional drivers.
Will Shiers, Editor of Commercial Motor – media partner of the Summit – commented:
“The driver shortage is a massive issue for our readers, and unless the industry pulls together and acts quickly, the problem is only going to get worse. It doesn’t matter whether they’re young or old, male or female, we need to attract new drivers, and we need to attract them now!”