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NFDA commercial vehicle members raise concerns about skills shortage

NFDA 31/10/2017

“NFDA Commercial Vehicle members are increasingly concerned about the skills shortage in the commercial vehicle sector as the UK leaves the EU. It is crucial that skilled technicians remain available to the UK to ensure that the industry continues to operate without compromise”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA) Commercial Vehicle (CV) division, which represents franchised commercial vehicle retailers in the UK.

NFDA’s Commercial Vehicle division, the largest representative body for the UK’s commercial vehicle retail sector, has responded to the Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC) inquiry into European Economic Area (EEA) workers in the UK labour market.

NFDA highlighted the importance of EEA workers for the sector. The response shows that the skills and qualifications of EU technicians are identical to those trained in the UK and migrant workers are not employed in the UK CV sector as seasonal or part time workers but on a long-term basis.

There are approximately 4,700* Heavy Good Vehicle (HGV) technicians employed across 634 truck sales and maintenance sites in the UK. EU technicians account for 6.2% of the UK HGV technicians’ workforce, a significant increase of 12.5% on last year.

Robinson continued, “The road haulage industry is worth £74 billion to the UK economy and with between 80% and 90%** of all goods being transported by heavy commercial vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, the sector is vital to the UK economy.

“A rising proportion of Heavy Good Vehicle technicians come from outside of the UK and it is concerning to see that HGV retailers see more than one in four technicians leave the business every year. In addition, voluntary turnover across all HGV technical positions has grown consistently from 16% in June 2016 to 22%*** in July 2017.

“To avoid higher repair and maintenance costs, which would cover higher labour costs, and not undermine the stability of the industry, the UK must retain its access to EU’s skilled workers.”

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* This figure is calculated from the average number of skilled HGV technicians per UK Truck Dealership and the total number of Truck sites. 

** Figure obtained from the Road Haulage Association (RHA) ‘80% of UK freight is moved directly by road (but even the 20% that is not moved by road often needs road haulage to complete journeys to/from ports, airports or rail terminals).’ 

*** Bi-annual NFDA Truck Dealership Workforce Survey. The most recent survey was conducted between 21 September and 21 October 2017. 

About the RMI

The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.