The government has recently confirmed that the HGV C+E apprenticeship funding band has been increased from £7000-£8000. This is welcome news for the RHA, who have been campaigning for many months. This came in part because of the operating cost increase for trucks that came in at around 20%. Other industry partners have been supporting the request for increased funding, and now they have been successful.
More Drivers Needed
More HGV drivers are needed on our roads to keep everything running, and the policy lead, skills and driver’s manager, Sally Gilson, at the RHA, has said This move is much needed given rising costs and inflation and will help get more new drivers behind the wheel.” Unfortunately, it is not such good news for heavy vehicle technicians. Again, there is a shortage of skilled members of this industry and more training is desperately needed, but the government only increased the funding band to £20,000 from £15,000. The RHA are concerned that, in real terms, this actually equates to a reduction because in order to make the courses viable to run, it would need to have been Increased to £23,000.
Errors From the Past
Part of the issue with the heavy vehicle technician funding it’s down to historical error. It was funded at £18,000 in 2017, but there were errors in two of the documents that weren’t picked up. This was the fault of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education and led to the funding being reduced incorrectly to £15,000. Various industry figures, including the RHA, have written to ministers explaining their concerns. In 2010, 100 training providers and colleges offered this course, but in 2023, there were only 41 educational establishments prepared to run it. This goes against the grain when compared with the amount of qualified heavy vehicle technicians that we now need.
Lack of Funding
The letter also goes on to explain that lack of funding is one of the basic reasons why institutions are not running this course. Alongside rising costs, it means that training providers are left to make up the shortfall and subsidise any essential items needed to provide the apprenticeship. Sally Gilson said, “This is a missed opportunity to help our industry tackle the shortage of technicians. The underfunding of these courses has had a profound impact on bringing new talent into the industry. We acknowledge the increased funding band, but realistically it falls short to encourage training providers to run these courses. We also run the risk of current providers leaving the market. We urge ministers to reconsider and pledge the £23,000 funding we need.
Such an Important Part of LifeWith the road transport network a vital part of daily life, the RHA continues to press the government to ensure that apprenticeships are fully funded in a way that makes them viable for colleges and training providers to run without having to extra costs that wouldn’t be sustainable.