Ministers have agreed to increase funding for HGV apprenticeships to £7,000, after the road haulage Trailblazer Group (TBG) rejected the previously announced level of £6,000.
The group, which helped develop the apprenticeship standard, welcomed the announcement by the education secretary and urged the sector to engage in the process to help solve the driver shortage.
Ministers intervened after the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IFATE) set a new level at £6,000 to fund two new HGV driver apprenticeships.
The TBG sought a procedural review of the decision and in a letter to the group this week, the IFATE said: “Upon reviewing the funding band recommendation made by the institute, the secretary of state has opted to increase the existing funding band for this standard.
“The funding band for your standard is therefore confirmed as band 10 (upper limit £7,000).”
RHA chief executive Richard Burnett said the increase was a step towards resolving the driver shortage, but he added that much more needed to be done:
“We’ve worked tirelessly over the last year to unblock this problem and we’re pleased that the government has listened,” he said. “But this is only one element to help tackle the growing driver shortage crisis.
“This move will support firms to recruit and train new drivers in the long term, but the industry needs immediate help as the demand for goods increases as lockdown restrictions are lifted.”
Jim French, TBG co-chair, hailed the successful outcome and said: “We now need the sector to engage in this apprenticeship in order to help reduce the driver shortage and for the Trailblazer Group we need to progress the urban driver apprenticeship as quickly as possible.”
An IFATE spokesman said: “We have worked closely with our fantastic network of trailblazer employers on updating and improving the apprenticeships offer for large goods vehicle drivers and are delighted this is now ready for launch.”
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