per cent in the last 12 months whilst in Liverpool vacancies grew by a whopping 288 per cent. Other areas which experienced an increase in driver vacancies are Birmingham, up 90 per cent, Warrington, up 73 per cent and Southampton, up a whopping 279 per cent.
On a national scale, vacancies grew by 130 per cent in October.Whilst a heartening signal of growth in the economy, this increased demand has the potential to compound the problem as there are less qualified drivers to fill the positions.
The lack of qualified drivers has been blamed on a number of factors, including the cost of HGV licences, strict qualifications and an ageing workforce with limited new blood coming into the industry.
Top Gear Recruitment – a specialist in supply chain recruitment – has now launched a far-reaching campaign to tackle the shortage. It provides approximately 2,400 driver shifts a month to meet the needs of high-profile clients in the manufacturing, distribution and logistics sectors.
James Mallick, operations manager at Top Gear Recruitment, commented: "If 100 drivers knocked on our office door today, they would receive immediate work – that’s how desperate the industry is for experienced and qualified drivers.
"With demand significantly outstripping supply, there’s real concern that something has to change quickly. As a result, we’re launching an ambitious drive to try and bolster the region’s workforce and redress the balance."
As part of the initiative, Top Gear is offering free driver training to anyone who works with the company. It’s also one of a small number of leading agencies spearheading the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) scheme, a course which aims to improve the road safety and fuel efficiency of vocational drivers in Britain. Top Gear has set up its own training academy and sends all drivers on the relevant course to ensure they meet current legislation.
Mallick added: "Top Gear has a long-standing reputation for providing drivers of the highest standard to our blue-chip clients. We employ three full-time trainers who work with our drivers to encourage and develop their skills. It’s essential, particularly in light of the current shortage, that we fully assess both our employees and our clients so that we can be sure that we’re putting the right people in the right jobs."