More government support is needed for supply chain skills, says transport industry body, Logistics UK. 

It has written to Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ahead of next month’s budget to plead its case.

Logistics UK says measures are needed to ‘strengthen the resilience of businesses charged with supplying the nation’s economy’.

David Wells, Logistics UK’s chief executive has asked for more employment in the sector, alongside loans or grants for training.

Wells maintains that it would give more opportunities to workers, while also help the HGV driver shortage.

“Our sector supports every area of the UK’s economy, but has been struggling to fill vacancies,” said Wells. 

“Brexit has had an impact and our member organisations can’t find staff with the right skills, qualifications and experience.” 

He added that while apprenticeships are useful, they cannot ‘deliver at the scale or speed required’. “The government has already pledged to test new working patterns for apprenticeships and now needs to accelerate this work.

“With HGV Driver training costing around £7,000 per person, grants or interest-free loans should be provided to train and reskill new employees.” This would increase the pool of available workers to fill the skills gaps in our sector, he said.

One operator that has benefited from supply chain skills is TP Niven. The haulier, which is based in Dumfries and Galloway, has been described as a driving force behind modern apprenticeships.

Skills Development Scotland was particularly impressed with the six apprenticeships at the company as well as staff retainment.  

“Modern Apprenticeships are the best way to ensure succession in our business,” said TP Niven’s general manager, Gordon Beswick. “As people progress elsewhere in their career, or retire, we feel it’s important that we have a progression pathway in place.”