Apprenticeships in the spotlight as solution to UK LGV driver shortage

TRS Training are marking Apprenticeships Week 2018 with the launch of an awareness raising campaign in association with the Road Haulage Association (RHA), aiming to help logistics and distribution companies address the UK LGV driver shortage.

Over the next few weeks, TRS Training will be delivering a series of presentations to members of the RHA, explaining to numerous employers in the industry how Apprenticeships are the ideal long term solution to tackling the driver shortage crisis.

Industry crisis

There is currently a shortage of approximately 60,000 large good vehicle drivers in the UK, with potential for this to rise to 150,000. The crisis is worsening due to an aging workforce – the average age of drivers is 53, and 13% are over 60. In addition, many foreign drivers who worked in the UK have returned home fuelled by Brexit fears. Another contributing factor is the lack of promotion of the sector to school leavers and other young people as a career option.

Apprenticeships solution

TRS are proposing the Apprenticeship model as a method for addressing this shortfall in driver numbers. Apprenticeships are genuine jobs with an accompanying structured skills programme that equips staff with the skills, knowledge and behaviour required for specific job roles. Employers report many benefits from employing apprentices including increase in productivity, staff loyalty and satisfaction levels.

The LGV Apprenticeship is a 12 month programme that includes LGV theory, driving practice, licence acquisition training, maths and English, and professional skills, knowledge and behaviour.   


The Apprenticeship awareness raising campaign follows the launch of a pioneering programme developed by RHA, Close Brothers Asset Finance and TRS Training Ltd. The partnership sees Close Brothers funding a proportion of wages for 20 apprentices under the age of 24, with TRS Training developing their skills to industry standards. The trainee drivers will complete an LGV Apprenticeship and their final assessment will be undertaken by the RHA.

Time to take action

Director of TRS Training, Kevin Birch, explains the key role Apprenticeships have to play:

“The lack of drivers is having a significant negative impact on the UK road haulage sector and it’s time to take action. But there is no quick fix – this is an issue that requires a strategy and investment if we are to start reversing trends. The Apprenticeship model provides the ideal long term solution because it fosters staff loyalty and commitment as well as providing the necessary skills the industry needs. Employers favour Apprenticeships because training schedules are flexible to meet shift patterns, and drivers are developed in line with organisational culture and practices.”

Investment for future success

Richard Burnett, chief executive of the RHA, underlines the importance of raising awareness of Apprenticeships in the road haulage sector:

“Many of our members are still not fully aware of the benefits of Apprenticeships can offer. Recent government reforms have developed the programme to be more in line with employer needs and with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the time is right for employers in the industry to start considering Apprenticeships as investment for future success. This is why we have chosen to launch this information campaign and put the spotlight on Apprenticeships as a fundamental feature on the road to productivity and growth in the UK’s road haulage sector.”

The TRS Training/RHA Apprenticeships Awareness Campaign launches during Apprenticeship Week and runs until May 1st.

TRS Training

TRS Training, is a Liverpool City Region training provider delivering Apprenticeship services to logistics and manufacturing businesses across the country. Ian Lomas of the Greater Merseyside Learning Providers Federation (GMLPF), of which TRS is a member, highlights how much of an asset the training organisation is to the region:

“TRS Training are a shining example of niche Apprenticeship provision in Liverpool City Region. Their partnership with the RHA and their national client base points to their professionalism and the quality of their services. An inspirational role model for Apprenticeships best practice, TRS are an invaluable ambassador for Liverpool City Region. We’re extremely proud of the part they’re playing in tackling the UK’s LGV driver shortage through Apprenticeships.”

Time To Talk Day 2018

Following on from discussions with members who attended our recent forum, we want to underline GMLPF’s commitment to collaborating with providers to address the growing issue of mental health and its impact on employment and skills in Liverpool City Region. As a start, we will be sharing what we feel are useful resources for members to consider using in the support of learners, staff and wider communities.

Tomorrow is Time To Talk Day 2018, established by Time To Change, the growing social movement changing how we all think and act about mental health. The Time To Change website provides a portfolio of downloadable resources and tips designed to end mental health discrimination.

We welcome any examples of mental health resources you use to support students or staff that could be shared with other GMLPF members. Please forward them to

In the near future, we plan to set up a working group focussing on the impact of mental health in the sector and develop an action plan. Any members interested in joining this group, please email

Statistical First Release: Apprenticeship Starts Aug-Oct 2017 (Qtr 1)

GMLPF has undertaken some initial analysis of the SFR Apprenticeship Starts data published on the 25th January 2018. It has not been possible yet to compare and contrast starts data for the period August to October 2017 with the corresponding period for 2016 for the Liverpool City Region.  However, it is clear that Apprenticeship starts are low relative to previous years.

Further analysis will be undertaken, for example timeframe comparisons and sectoral analysis, when data becomes available.

Several key messages emerge:

  • Nationally, Apprenticeship starts are significantly down year on year, continuing the trend identified in the previous quarter.
  • On current levels of starts it is highly unlikely that the Liverpool City Region will match the number of starts achieved in 2016/17. To achieve that level, some 15,180 individuals would need to start an Apprenticeship over the next three quarters. This equates to some 5,060 individuals each quarter or a 50% increase on current levels.
National Picture

The Government’s manifesto 3m Apprenticeship starts target would appear to be highly ambitious given the recent publication of starts data. Total Apprenticeship starts have fallen by 41% over the period May-October 2017 when compared to the corresponding period in 2016. This analysis continues to highlight the impact of Apprenticeship reforms.

LCR Picture

The table below illustrates the total number of (All Age) Apprenticeship starts by Local Authority area over the last 6 full delivery years.

LEA/LA/Region/England 2011/12 2012/13 2013/14 2014/15 2015/16 2016/17
Full Year (Provisional)
Knowsley 2,910 2,560 2,010 2,180 2,140 2,160
Liverpool 7290 6120 4600 5080 5130 5310
Halton 2010 1630 1420 1420 1440 1430
Sefton 3840 3860 2890 3100 3090 3330
St Helens 2850 2330 2080 2260 2390 2280
Wirral 4870 4510 3530 3850 4130 4070
LCR 23,770 21,010 16,530 17,890 18,320 18,580
North West 89310 84180 71670 79310 80820 79170
England 515000 504200 434600 494200 503900 485500


The table reveals that Apprenticeship starts were relatively stable over the period 2014/15 to 2016/17 with circa 18,000 Starts per annum.

An analysis of the Statistical First Release data for Apprenticeship starts (August-October) by Local Authority area and by age group and level of Apprenticeship reveals the following:

Statistical First Release Jan 18: Apprenticeship Starts by Age Aug-Oct 2017
Local Authority Area 16-18 19-24 25+ Total
Halton   110 80 90 280
Knowsley   150 100 140 390
Liverpool   290 220 360 870
St Helens   190 120 130 440
Sefton   230 190 190 610
Wirral   300 240 280 810
LCR Total   1270 950 1190 3400
%   37.4% 27.9% 35.0% 100%
Statistical First Release Jan 18: Apprenticeship Starts by Level Aug-Oct 2017
Local Authority Area Intermediate Advanced Higher Total
Halton   110 140 30 280
Knowsley   190 160 40 390
Liverpool   400 370 100 870
St Helens   180 210 50 440
Sefton   270 260 70 610
Wirral   340 370 100 810
LCR Total   1490 1510 390 3400
%   43.8% 44.4% 11.5% 100%


What is apparent from the above tables is that:

  • Total starts in Quarter 1 (3400) equates to 18.3% of the total number of starts in the 2016/17 year. Given historical recruitment patterns (where recruitment of apprentices, in particular 16-18 is higher, in Quarter 1) this figures appears to be low and would require significant volumes of new starts for the City Region to achieve the level of starts in the previous year.
  • It would appear that, in contrast to the previous year, the number of 25 years olds and over has decreased significantly. In 2016/17, 47% of those starting an Apprenticeship were aged 25 and over in contrast to 35% currently. Starts by those aged 16-18 appear to have increased.
  • The profile of Apprenticeship starts by Level appears to confirm an emerging trend whereby the number of starts at Intermediate level are decreasing and there is an increasing shift towards advanced and higher level

ESFA Non-Levy Procurement Results

Results of this recent tender exercise were published by the ESFA the week ending the 8th December. We understand that there may be a delay in the ESFA issuing contracts due to several organisations challenging their results.

Funding cut by a third

It is clear that the procurement exercise was over-subscribed at a national level. LCR based providers faced fierce competition, with most organisations having funding requests cut by a third or more it would seem.

Minimum contract value

We are aware that a small number of members have been unsuccessful in receiving a non-Levy funding allocation. Some of these submitted high quality proposals that met and exceeded the scoring criteria. However they have not been awarded an allocation because, following a pro rate reduction by the ESFA, their tender value fell below the £200,000 minimum contract value.

GMLPF survey results

GMLPF surveyed members on the outcomes of the procurement exercise. Despite submitting successful tenders, most members have received allocations significantly below what they anticipated. A number of key messages emerge from our survey, these are:

  • 75% of members who were successful in the tendering exercise believe that the reduced funding allocation will have a negative impact on their organisation
  • 56% indicated that there will be reduced Starts in contrast to only 13% suggesting that they will be able to increase Starts.
  • 44% indicated that there would be reduced provision ie they will cease to deliver certain learning programmes

GMLPF has been working with the LCR Employment and Skills team to raise awareness of the potential consequences of this procurement with the Metropolitan Mayor. There is a concern that the reduced allocations may impact negatively upon the capacity and capability of the local supplier base and their ability to address emerging skills issues.

GMLPF would also like to broker relationships between members who were unsuccessful or have reduced allocation, and those who might now be looking for potential delivery partners. If anybody is looking for delivery partners based in the Liverpool City Region then please contact Ian Lomas at GMLPF on or 0151 707 8775

Check back to the GMLPF website for further updates

Industrial Strategy: GMLPF welcomes further investment in UK technical education system

GMLPF welcomes Government plans laid out in their new Industrial Strategy which says there will be further investment in Britain’s technical education system.

After extensive consultation, the Government has published a new Industrial Strategy which sets out a vision for the UK as the world’s most innovative economy. It identifies four areas or Grand Challenges where Britain can lead the global technological revolution:

  • Artificial intelligence/big data
  • Clean growth
  • Ageing society
  • Future of mobility

The white paper commits to strengthening the five foundations of productivity: Innovation, People, Infrastructure, Places and the Business Environment

Education, training and skills

The focus on People shines a light on education, training and skills. The Government is committed to increasing investment in these areas with the aim of generating good jobs and greater earning power for all. Key policies here include:

  • establishing a world-class technical education system that incorporates Apprenticeships
  • investing an additional £406m in maths, digital & technological education to address shortage of STEM skills
  • creating a new National Retraining Scheme that supports people to re-skill, including £64m for digital & construction training
Drivers for growth

Ian Lomas, CEO at GMLPF, refers to the strategy’s promise to strengthen the country’s technical education system:

“For GMLPF and its members, to read the Government’s commitment to  investing in a world class technical education system to match our academic system is encouraging. This, and the investment in STEM will be important drivers of growth in Liverpool City Region.

“We will be working with our members to explore how we can align local programmes and provision to contribute to the Industrial Strategy’s goals.”

GMLPF will produce a precis of the Industrial Strategy for members which will provide an overview and highlight in particular its impact upon the areas of education, training and skills. 

Industrial Strategy: Building a Britain fit for the future