From education to employment

The IMI urges Education Secretary to review funding for Heavy Vehicle Apprenticeships

To ensure UK heavy goods sector can function efficiently and safely

Steve Nash, CEO of the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) has written to the Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP, Secretary of State for Education to express the professional body’s deep concern regarding the current state of the Heavy Vehicle Maintenance and Repair landscape. The IMI believes that there are several issues that, without urgent action, could cause significant disruption to heavy goods movement – fundamental to the UK economy.

One of the primary concerns highlighted by the IMI is the inadequate funding band allocated to apprenticeships in heavy vehicle maintenance and repair. The IMI believes the current level of financial support falls significantly short of meeting the demands and challenges of the heavy goods industry. The amount of money on offer does not make a viable business case to support effective learning, especially considering the expensive equipment and the effects of inflation.

Steve Nash has stated in his open letter to the Rt Hon Gillian Keegan MP that it is imperative that the funding allocation is reassessed and increased to a level that reflects the true needs and costs of training the heavy vehicle technicians of the future.

“Given the recent actions taken by the Migration Advisory Committee in considering the inclusion of Heavy Vehicle Technicians on the Shortage Occupation List, it’s clear that government understands the pressing need for a larger workforce in the Heavy Goods sector”, explained Steve Nash.

“We welcome this initiative but surely focusing on ‘home-grown talent’ would also make sense. It is crucial that the UK creates an environment that attracts and retains skilled professionals in heavy vehicle maintenance and repair. This can only be achieved by ensuring that adequate support, training, and career development opportunities are available to encourage individuals to enter and remain in this field.”

The IMI has also highlighted the importance of having a fully engaged and skilled heavy goods vehicle maintenance workforce in light of the recently proposed Heavy Vehicle Testing Call for Evidence, which aims to increase the time between tests. The safe and efficient movement of goods is critical to the functioning of the economy. However, without a workforce equipped with the proper skills to maintain and repair heavy vehicles, the proposed changes could compromise road safety and disrupt the logistics industry.

The IMI is urging the government to take immediate action by:

  • Re-evaluating and increasing the funding band allocated to apprenticeships in heavy vehicle maintenance and repair to ensure the viability and effectiveness of training programs.
  • Recognising heavy vehicle technicians as a shortage occupation, facilitating the recruitment and retention of skilled professionals through targeted initiatives, such as streamlined visa processes and attractive career development opportunities.
  • Working closely with industry stakeholders to develop comprehensive strategies for enhancing the skills and capabilities of the heavy vehicle maintenance and repair workforce, ensuring they are equipped to meet the demands of evolving technology and industry standards.
  • Considering the vital role of heavy vehicle maintenance and repair in road safety and the efficient movement of goods when formulating policies, such as the proposed changes to the Heavy Vehicle Testing framework.

The current state of the HGV Technicians workforce

Current IMI data highlights that :

  • Heavy Vehicle Technicians job posts have increased by 10% in the past 2 years
  • Proportionally in 2023 there is an estimated 14.5 vacancies per 100 Heavy Vehicle Technicians
  • Heavy Vehicle qualifications have continued to fall over the past 5 years and have not recovered since the pandemic.

The open letter to the Secretary of State for Education can be viewed here

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