AN INSTRUCTOR at a Redditch HGV driving school says it will take 18 months before the backlog of students waiting for lessons is cleared.
Hgv / B+E Training Redditch, on Bartleet Road has always faced a shortage of HGV examiners, but the situation has worsened due to Covid-19.
Incentives for people to train to combat the UK’s lorry driver shortage – some up to £5,000 – has also led to an influx in motorists applying for HGV courses.
That move was prompted by a lorry driver shortage, caused by Covid self-isolating and EU nationals returning home after Brexit.
Companies across the country have spoken about a lack of HGV drivers leading to delivery issues.
There have been reports of empty supermarket shelves, Wetherspoons said some of its pubs had run out of certain beers and Nando’s temporarily closed 50 sites because of insufficient supplies.
Other sectors have also been impacted, including the NHS which had to cancel blood tests in some parts of the country because of a lack of test tubes.
Redditch LGV instructor David Poole explained: “We couldn’t work for nine months because of Covid, and during that period loads of people bought cars and caravans.
“When they bought the vehicles, a lot of owners didn’t have the licence to drive them so they needed to take a B+E test to be able to tow the heavier caravans.
“The only people that can test them is heavy goods examiners, so not only was there a shortage of examiners but an increase in students wanting B+E tests.”
The DVSA has now restricted the booking of B+E test to try and increase the availability of tests for HGV students.
Mr Poole said that had helped ease the backlog but heavy goods examiners had to spend four months training in cars before they could progress to the larger vehicles.
The DVSA is looking to change the licensing so students can train on an articulated lorry.
But Mr Poole said applications for re-tests had led to an even bigger demand as it took longer to train on an arctic and the failure rate was high because of the amount of skill needed.
Mr Poole added: “So where we could’ve trained someone in a rigid, a drawbar and then an arctic properly, they would go straight to arctic.
“It’s going to exhaust the situation on the re-tests alone but we’ll have to see what happens.”