As you know we are very proud of our candidates here at 24-7 Staffing. If you have been reading our articles or have heard our radio advertisements you will know that we strive to ensure we create a service based around perfectly placed people. We see it as a natural part of our role to make sure that all our candidates meet the needs of our clients and exceed expectations. For us excellence isn’t just something that happens occasionally - it is an expectation.
Some things however are beyond our control and one of these things is the effect the introduction of DCPC training and subsequent enforcement rules has had on the availability of drivers.
When a new piece of legislation that affects the way a process works comes into effect, it invariably means that there is a change in the supply chain. In the case of DCPC training it has lead to what will hopefully be a short-term shortage of trained drivers.
This shortage is down to a combination of factors. Some drivers have decided to retire from the industry, with a large proportion already close to retirement or they don’t want to sit through the formal training. For some it’s the financial implications of training where employers have refused to pay for it and expect the drivers to self-fund. For others the decision to leave the industry altogether has had an effect as well. Add to this those who simply did not feel the training was for them and the other natural wastage and you have a job market that is suffering from a drought of workers that would traditionally be filled by temporary workers. Not to mention the companies that are still totally unaware of the legislation…yes believe ir not there are people who have no idea their staff need this mandatory training.
Temporary agency drivers are not always the first choice to fill this gap. There is even a misconception that they are less efficient than permanent staff. I am here to tell you that this is not always the case. In fact it may well be the opposite that is nearer the mark. Our drivers are skilled and able to think on their feet. They need to be because unlike a permanent staff member they rarely get an induction process, or a full briefing on their route, or delivery methods. This means that they must be able to adapt to new situations and be able to quickly adopt new systems or paperwork and often these days electronic scanning and recording as well as safe loading procedures
Add to this that they can be called upon to drive multiple rigs from refrigerated supermarket deliveries to tankers in unfamiliar cabs at the drop of a hat and you begin to see why our fully trained agency drivers are a valuable commodity.
For the employer this means that you may need to work a little harder to get the drivers you need. Of course (as we have mentioned in previous articles) a good starting point is to make sure our drivers are paid a fair (and even generous) salary that reflects their skills. Another consideration is for employers to budget for this mandatory training and put their drivers through on an annual basis rather than leaving it all to the eleventh hour and risk losing staff to someone else who will training them accordingly.
Maintaing a strong relationship with your partner agency is also vital instead of agency hoping as some clients do. This way the agency is able to build a pool of drivers skilled for a handful of different clients providing you with a flexible work force.
Government funded opportunities such as the Young Drivers Apprentice scheme is another way employers can help to overcome the shortage and help bring new blood into the industry as well as share the responsibility.
As a specialist agency we have already invested two years into DCPC training by employing our own internal trainer who actively monitors the qualified percentage of our database in readiness for our clients.
We also need to remember that, despite the common myth, these drivers are not temporary because they cannot get a full time job. There are plenty of opportunities around for them at the moment. For most of them the choice to work with a temporary contract is just that, a life choice. It may be that they want to work hours that allow them to care for the needs of a partner or loved one. It may well be that they are choosing semi-retirement, or that driving helps supplement another project or their own business. Whatever the reason our experience of this part of the workforce is that they are dedicated professionals.
At the moment they are dedicated professionals who can pretty much pick and choose where they work - so if you want them you may need to incentivise them and treat them with the respect they deserve.