A new two-year apprenticeship in transport operations and commercial driving will carve the way for a career in logistics.
The programme will provide the opportunity for a higher education qualification and a professional driving qualification.
According to the government, currently, the average age of commercial vehicle drivers is over 50. Only 2% of those holding a commercial vehicle license are women.
They hope that this new apprenticeship will attract a new generation to the industry with more women HGV drivers.
Under this programme, firms employ apprentices for the two-year programme and will earn as they learn at ATU Sligo.
A range of key stakeholders, including lead proposer, Freight Transport Association Ireland, co-ordinating provider, Atlantic Technological University, the Health and Safety Authority, Insurance Ireland and CILT, are backing the programme.
Speaking today, Minister Simon Harris said:
“This is good news for our economy, good news for businesses and good news for education.”
“That is what we need – industry and education working together to address the skills shortages we have.”
Career in freight and logistics
Minister in the Department of Transport, with special responsibility for international transport and logistics, Hildegarde Naughton, said:
“The professionalisation of the industry and the creation of clear career pathways would attract new entrants to consider a career in freight and logistics.”
“The ongoing crisis in Ukraine, coming on top of Brexit and Covid, reminds us of the importance of a fully functioning supply chain and of the critical role that those working in logistics and transport, including drivers, play every day in bringing essential supplies into and around the country.”
“Their work underpins our key infrastructure, supports Irish business and industry, and enables the maintenance of economic and social activity for the good of all citizens and for society as a whole.”
“I hope in particular, that the transport operations and commercial driving apprenticeship will serve as a springboard for the diversification of the workforce in the freight sector and attract more women into the industry.”
Mary-Liz Trant, director of the National Apprenticeship Office, said:
“The announcement of these exciting new apprenticeships, the recent launch of the gender-based bursary and apprentice employer grants, really shows the pace of change in the sector is accelerating.”
Aidan Flynn, chief executive at FTA Ireland, highlighted that road transport is “critical” to the continued success of Ireland’s supply chain.
It accounts for almost 99% of inland freight movements across the country.
“Yet, the pressures on talent to join other careers is placing increasing pressure on recruitment for the sector. It is now struggling to recruit a diverse workforce and has suffered long-standing skills shortages as a result.
“Apprenticeships are a proven means for new recruits to join a sector while still learning during their workplace training.
“We are confident that this new apprenticeship – the 65th launched nationwide – will attract new employees to our vibrant industry. It will ensure that they can take up one of the many jobs currently on offer once qualified,” Flynn concluded.
Other articles on That’s Farming: