Veolia turns to mums in search for drivers

Veolia today (12 August) called on parents to consider a new career in the waste industry as a trained heavy goods vehicle (HGV) driver to help ease the national shortage of staff.

Veolia wants to "break down barriers" and increase the number of women working on its teams

In recent times, factors such as Brexit, the so-called ‘pingdemic’ and a testing backlog have contributed to an “unprecedented” national shortage of drivers, causing delays and cancellations to collections around the country.

In a statement, Veolia said it wanted to highlight the “benefits” of working as an HGV driver for parents looking for part-time roles that they may have never considered.

Beth Whittaker, chief human resources officer at Veolia UK and Ireland, said: “Although all drivers are welcome, we do want to focus on mums looking for a part-time job that can wrap around school pick-up.

“I am frustrated by the stereotype of binmen as I speak to the women who work here and, even though it’s a minority, they are passionate about what they do.

“We are looking to break down the barriers that are placed there and we would like to increase the number of females working on our teams.”

Benefits

Veolia said its drivers had the opportunity to work locally and as part of their community.

“Although all drivers are welcome, we do want to focus on mums”

Beth Whittaker, Veolia

The waste management company said hours started early, “when parents are already up”, but finished early enough to allow them to collect children from school.

Veolia added drivers would also “help the planet” by supporting residents to boost recycling locally.

Driver shortage

Pre-pandemic, the Road Haulage Association (RHA) predicted a shortage of about 60,000 drivers, Veolia said. The trade association now estimates there to be a shortage of more than 100,000.

The RHA estimates there to be a national shortage of more than 100,000 HGV drivers (picture: Shutterstock)

In the recycling and waste sector, Veolia reports an average of 15% vacancy rates for driving roles. The waste management company says it is proving “very challenging” to fill the resourcing gap given “the dynamics of this labour market”.

Earlier this month, the waste and recycling sector wrote an open letter to the home secretary, Priti Patel, expressing concerns about a shortage of trained HGV drivers across the waste sector (see letsrecycle.com story). The signatories, who included the Environmental Services Association, called for a two-year derogation to the points-based immigration rules for trained HGV drivers.

This week, Somerset’s waste collection contractor Suez offered HGV drivers a £1,000 bonus to join its workforce as full-time permanent staff in a bid to ease the crisis (see letsrecycle.com story).

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