Ministers will expand an accelerated program to provide truck driver training for up to 5,000 people to help alleviate the supply chain crisis.
Education Minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday that “Skills Bootcamps” would create 2,000 additional places to increase the number of truck drivers.
But the free courses with a duration of up to 16 weeks will not start until next month and will therefore do nothing to alleviate worries about bottlenecks at Christmas.
Labor said the new drivers trained under the program were a “drop in the bucket” compared to what is required.
About one in six adults in the UK have been unable to purchase essential groceries in the past two weeks, according to the National Statistics Office (ONS).
For non-essential food, the figure was almost a quarter, with the shortage of truck drivers partly responsible for the shortage after Brexit cut a labor supply from the EU.
With £ 17 million in courses in support, the government has pledged that students who pass the exam will be guaranteed an interview with a local employer.
But the first fully trained truck drivers won’t be “ready to drive” until February, Downing Street admitted.
The spots are offered to drivers returning to work or looking to upgrade their license to transport dangerous goods such as fuel, as well as newcomers.
Army tanker drivers were also used to fill gas stations hit by fuel shortages.
After ministers announced last month that 3,000 people could be trained as truck drivers under the program, the latest announcement brings the total to 5,000.
Mr. Zahawi said, “To help more people get started in the industry, we are expanding our Skills Bootcamp offering to help 5,000 people acquire the skills they need to be up and running and those with prior knowledge to help brush up on their skills so they can acquire them Back on the Road. “
An additional 1,000 people are expected to be trained through local programs funded from the government’s education budget.
Shadow Transportation Secretary Jim McMahon said: “This is a drop in the ocean and it is clear that the government is either unwilling or unable to grasp the magnitude of the challenge ahead of Christmas. The industry has warned that 15,000 additional drivers will be needed for Christmas deliveries alone – not to mention the colossal loophole that ministers have already planned or properly addressed.
“If the Prime Minister does not treat this crisis seriously and show real ambition, working people will pay the price again this winter with rising costs, skyrocketing energy bills and empty shelves.”
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