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Skills shortages remain a cross-party issue and an impending skills shortage in the transport and logistics sector will cause a serious challenge for the next government, whatever its party colours may be.

The UK is a global leader in the transport and logistics industry, with the UK in the top 10% for its freight and logistics capacity. The logistics industry alone is estimated to be worth over £96 billion. However, research suggests that 87% of manufacturing and logistics employers are experiencing a skills gap.

In a struggling economy it is ever more important that we continue to lead in such a high turnover industry, without the qualified candidates coming forward to join the profession the UK will struggle to maintain its lead.

The free movement of people and goods is an essential element to an effective economy, helps promote social mobility and contributes significantly to economic prosperity. Our future prosperity will require significant numbers of people joining the logistics and transport profession and we must promote the industry in order to attract candidates across a range of sectors.

The logistics and transport skills shortage will lead to dramatic consequences if not dealt with. One particular issue is the shortage of drivers for trucks and buses. It is projected that the industry will need 150,000 by 2020, with older drivers approaching retirement and recently maturing Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (DCPC) regulations, further reducing the number of active retired drivers, it is important that the government shifts its priorities to encourage young school leavers to join driver apprenticeships.

We think that more could be done, with the support of government, to ensure that young people are aware of the existing opportunities in the logistics and transport industries. Looking at the statistics of young people seeking employment, currently over 900,000 under the age of 24, CILT believes that the option of taking a career path in logistics or transport should be highlighted to individuals at a much younger age.

CILT would like to see the next government recognise the importance of logistics and transport to the economy as well as the opportunities available for permanent careers for young people. We believe this is a great opportunity for the next government to tackle the unemployment issues as well as dealing with, what could be, a dramatic failing to the economy and well-being of our country as we struggle to cope with increasing demand with a decreasing workforce.

In the first 100 days of the next government CILT believes that it is vital that the vast career opportunities in the logistics and transport industry are encouraged to children not only in schools, but those leaving and those who have recently left and are seeking an exciting and rewarding role.