Bringing in young recruits has long been seen as a saviour to the industry’s never-ending difficulties in finding enough people to drive and maintain its vehicles. Some operators have seen success with that strategy, others less so.
But it is now an avenue that requires exploration with vigour and enthusiasm like never before. The sector’s future depends on doing so; as one operator says, a yard packed with expensive vehicles and storage tanks full of almost as valuable diesel have no value if there is nobody to drive the former.
While large groups have long been happy to train people who are little more than 18, the approach in other areas has been more variable.
A conservative view of who can drive a vehicle that is worth up to £400,000 (or more) is understandable, but with the quality of some practical and classroom training, and onboard monitoring in abundance, is that now really such a risk if the individual is eased into it at the correct pace and with the right support?
Evidence continues to suggest that there is an appetite among newcomers – young and old – to join the industry. While no two operators will see the same results in recruitment, investment in unearthing talent is money well spent. Not all will turn into long-term assets, but with suitable due diligence beforehand many unsuitable candidates can be weeded out.
There is a pool of potential talent out there. It needs tapping into if the industry is to prosper.