Responding to the DfT’s consultation on lowering the minimum age requirement for train drivers published on 16 May 2024, Ellis Shelton, Senior Policy Advisor at business group Logistics UK, says:

“The government has set a target of at least 75% growth in rail freight by 2050 and as more freight is moved on rails, it is inevitable that more drivers will be needed to achieve this growth. However, the sector is facing a significant skills shortage and up to 120,000 additional people will be required by 2030 with the demand for skills peaking around 2025. This is largely as a result of an ageing workforce and nearly 50,000 rail industry employees are expected to retire by 2030.

“Only 5% of the rail industry’s workforce are under 25 so lowering the minimum age for train drivers to 18 is a practical step to encourage younger people into the industry and address the ageing workforce, but an efficient rail network needs more than just drivers.

“There are numerous critical roles alongside drivers, such as engineers and technicians, where there are also skills shortages and Logistics UK has been pressing government for some time for a clear national strategy to help address the skills gap in this vital sector.  The Generation Logistics campaign is part of the solution, but there still needs to be better signposting of the careers available and more support for apprenticeships through government funding and less complicated access.”

Logistics UK is one of the UK’s leading business groups, representing logistics businesses which are vital to keeping the UK trading, and more than seven million people directly employed in the making, selling and moving of goods. With decarbonisation, Brexit, new technology and other disruptive forces driving change in the way goods move across borders and through the supply chain, logistics has never been more important to UK plc. Logistics UK supports, shapes and stands up for safe and efficient logistics, and is the only business group which represents the whole industry, with members from the road, rail, sea and air industries, as well as the buyers of freight services such as retailers and manufacturers whose businesses depend on the efficient movement of goods. For more information about the organisation and its work, please visit logistics.org.uk

Source: logistics uk