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MiniPlus Article
January 07 2019
By Tim Deakin

Tim is Editor of routeone and has worked in both the coach and bus and haulage industries.

Is public funding the answer to driver issues?

Would use of government money help to ameliorate the driver shortage?

A minicoach operator has suggested that government money should be used to fund the training of drivers. It’s an understandable proposal; across the industry, recruitment remains a serious issue despite recurring questions over the economy’s strength.

There are arguments both for and against adoption of this approach. There is certainly work in the industry for newcomers. While funding their training would initially cost the public purse, that could potentially be mitigated by removing those individuals from long-term unemployment.

The opposing view is that it may lead to people joining who are of the wrong calibre and who have no interest in doing the job properly.

The financial damage that might do to businesses and operations could then be in excess of what is caused by a driver shortage in the first place.

Meanwhile, apprenticeships have merit. The can bring in the young people that the industry is so desperately short of, but they require an investment of time from the operator.

What’s the answer? It’s difficult to say. Automation is coming, of that we are assured, but in the minicoach and minibus sectors it is difficult to see where that can ever lead to a reduction in the requirement for staff.

Enjoy 2019.

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