The IRHA is lobbyig the government to develop a driver apprentice scheme for HGV drivers. “The average age of a truck driver today is 48,” says Verona Murphy, president of the IRHA. “Young people are not coming into the industry: they see it as anti-social and governed by too much legislation. at the same time, demand for drivers is increasing.
“We want a driver apprenticeship scheme launched within the next 12 months to be fully funded by the government and hauliers will commit to employing apprentices in their business. Statistics show that 90% of apprentices continue to work with their employer beyond the official apprentice period. we want young people from the age of 17 – both men and women – to gain a professional qualification for driving heavy goods vehicles.” although there are other training opportunities available – from motoring schools, the Road Safety Authority, education and training boards and the Chartered Institute of Logistics & Transport Ireland – none offer a comprehensive programme covering all aspects of a HGV operation.
The apprenticeship scheme would increase the number of HGV drivers with relevant licenses and training coming into the industry, improvethe image of professional HGV drivers so that haulage would be recognised as a profession, rather than a trade; and provide a career path of progression and transferable skills for those who complete the course.
Core modules could cover road safety, safe driving practice and knowledge of vehicle operation and maintenance, but the scheme would also look at a range of driver-related activities, such as customs requirements, vehicle technology and telematics, and how hgv driving fits into multi-modal transport and the logistics chain.The three-year scheme would include on-the-job training, as well as classroom sessions.
The IRHA’s proposals, written by Johnathan Moloney and Seamus McGowan, IRHA treasurer and MD of TPN, has the support of a number of industry organisations, including the Irish International Freight Association, Road Safety Authority, CLF, IEA and CILT, as well as truck manufacturer Scania and TPN. It is expected that the government will give feedback on the proposal by the end of July.