HIT the road to help Britain as we face summer food shortages due to a lack of lorry drivers.
Figures from the Road Haulage Association reveal the UK needs another 100,000 truckers to continue to deliver goods to stores.
Around 600,000 British people work as HGV drivers and typically 40,000 new recruits are trained each year.
But only 15,000 were able to qualify in 2020 due to Covid restrictions.
The average age of an HGV driver is 55 and only one per cent of new ones are under 25.
HGV recruitment agency Driver Require has described it as a “perfect storm of elevated demand and reduced supply”, with supermarkets, retailers, construction, refuse and haulage firms struggling to recruit.
While the Government this week moved to loosen rules on hours behind the wheel, tens of thousands of new drivers are needed now to ease the shortage.
Requirements are simple, as recruits need to be 18 or over and hold a valid UK car licence to begin training.
It takes eight to ten weeks to qualify with trainees getting between £18,500 and £22,000 — equivalent to a new graduate salary.
A very experienced HGV driver can expect up to £45,000 a year, topped up with overtime.
Among the firms recruiting is Veolia, whose chief human resources officer Beth Whittaker said: “Drivers are the backbone of our business, enabling critical services to be delivered.
“By joining Veolia you will be driving state-of-the-art vehicles, offered a competitive salary and benefits, work full-time or part-time to suit your lifestyle, enjoy a good working environment and be part of a team.
“You’ll be carrying out a vital, skilled role.”
Driven to succeed
KATE Terry left her job as a horse-riding instructor to become an HGV driver after watching hit TV show Ice Road Truckers
Kate, 43, from Wallington, Surrey, is now a driver and loader for Veolia.
She said: “I have always loved trucks and was a fan of shows like Ice Road Truckers, which is the ultimate dream.
“Watching a woman on the show inspired me to have a go. I love being outdoors, I couldn’t do an office job.”
But she added: “It does take a certain type of person. It’s not for the faint-hearted. A good driver has grit, patience and tolerance.
“My family thought I was crazy to change careers but they are all really proud of what I do now.”
COUNT yourself in at Azets.
The regional accountancy giant is creating 650 new roles, from assistant right through to partner.
It has 80 offices stretching from Aberdeen to Truro and is seeking staff to work in audit and assurance, accounting and advisory business services, corporate finance, tax and restructuring.
Anna Murphy, head of group resourcing, said: “We are looking to recruit at all levels, with our investment in hybrid working creating more opportunities for existing staff and removing old geographical barriers.”
Find a home in hospitality
HOMELESS charity Only A Pavement Away has joined forces with hospitality jobs board Caterer.com to serve up a new jobs scheme.
It is helping to train homeless people for roles at top restaurants.
New research from Caterer.com has found 72 per cent of customers would be more likely to visit a restaurant if they knew it helped vulnerable people into a career.
Julian was living on the streets in London before his support worker put him in touch with Only A Pavement Away.
He said: “They helped me prepare for the interview and I was given a trial shift.
“I was then offered a role as a kitchen porter at The Ivy in St John’s Wood. Four-and-a- half months later I was promoted to commis chef.
“When you go from being homeless to being given a chance to forge a new career, it’s a feeling I can’t easily describe.”
CHILDCARE provider Bright Horizons is hosting a Virtual Careers Week from Monday.
Find out more at jobs.brighthorizons.co.uk.
Fire and re-hire pitfalls
SOME firms are under fire for threatening to dismiss staff and then re-employ them on worse terms.
But what are “fire and re-hire” tactics?
Kate Hindmarch, who is an employment lawyer at Langleys Solicitors, says: “Fire and re-hire is lawful, but unethical.
“It’s a high-risk strategy that employers should not take on without understanding the risks and potential reputational damage involved.”
She explains the issues and drawbacks.
- If an employer wishes to vary terms and conditions of a current employment contact, they must first seek agreement to the changes by consulting with the workforce and trade unions.
- If agreement cannot be reached, employers must terminate employees’ existing contracts by giving notice and offer to re-engage on the new terms. Employees are then effectively dismissed and face the choice of accepting new, usually less generous terms.
- If an employee refuses the new terms, they may have a claim for unfair dismissal, providing they have more than two years of service.
- Employers must be mindful that firing and re-hiring can be damaging for employee relations.
- Employers risk negative coverage and strikes.