September 19, 2019 @ 13:51 by Steven Hugill
A family-run transport company boss has called on fellow haulage firms to play their part in solving a driver shortage.
Caroline Moody has urged operators to create more apprenticeships to usher in a new generation behind the wheel.
Latest figures estimate the transport sector is facing a shortfall of more than 60,000 qualified HGV drivers and Caroline, managing director at Cramlington-based Moody Logistics, says an influx of new recruits is essential for its long-term future.
Her company has already put two apprentices through a driver programme operated by Tyneside Training Services (TTS).
A third is due to sit an HGV test, with officials now selecting their fourth driver apprentice.
“We are committed to providing people with the opportunities, skills and qualifications necessary to tackle what is a serious challenge to the industry,” said Caroline, who qualified as an HGV driver last year.
“The current shortfall in professional drivers poses a serious threat to the effectiveness of the transport industry, as well as the future UK economy.
“Creating more driver apprentices is a practical and cost-effective way in which businesses such as our own can encourage a new generation to get behind the wheel.”
Melanie Thompson-Glen, business development manager at Gateshead College, which operates TTS, encouraged younger people to look at the sector as a viable career option, saying the time has come to remove outdated stereotypes.
She added: “This is a modern technologically advanced industry and apprenticeships are a great way to attract new talent into the profession.”