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Mobilise European Year of Skills in driver shortage fight
EU | Brussels

Mobilise European Year of Skills in driver shortage fight

10 May 2023 · People

The European Year of Skills is an opportunity to ramp up efforts to reduce bus and truck driver shortages.

The focus of this year’s Europe Day on reskilling and upskilling, young people, and third-country skilled workers is in response to the EU’s shortage of skilled labour.

In the road transport sector, Europe is missing some 600,000 bus and truck drivers, forecasted to reach almost 2 million by 2026 if current trends continue.

IRU Director EU Advocacy Raluca Marian said, “We couldn’t agree more with the objectives of the European Year of Skills.

“Its timing reflects reality: a shortage of skilled labour. In the case of our industry, a shortage of bus and truck drivers. 

“The EU needs to promote reskilling and upskilling to boost the competitiveness of companies and realise the digital and green transitions.”

“As proposed by the EU, a special focus must be put on engaging more people, particularly women and young people, in the labour market,” she added.

The ongoing digital and automation revolution is an ideal opportunity for the road transport sector to improve its attractiveness among European youth. It’s also a chance to launch an industry-wide effort of upskilling to meet current and future demand.

All four objectives of the European Year of Skills are related to the ongoing revision of the EU Driving Licence Directive. Whether it’s training investment, matching opportunities and skills, or attracting non-EU professionals, EU authorities can act right now.

“As the Commission pointed out, the green transition could create up to 1 million additional jobs in the EU by 2030, but many companies are struggling to find workers with the right skills. It would be a shame to let this opportunity for economic and social growth slip away,” highlighted Raluca Marian.

Third-country drivers

Another key ambition of this year’s Europe Day is to ease the recognition of qualifications across borders and attract skilled workers from outside the EU.

“The revision of the EU Driving Licence Directive offers an opportunity to establish the required legislation for European companies to attract skilled foreign workers to meet demand,” added Raluca Marian.

IRU is calling for the revision of the directive to create a genuine EU framework to attract, train and exchange third-country driving licences and certificates for professional competence while ensuring the full respect of third-country drivers’ rights.

“EU legislators have several avenues at their disposal to tackle Europe’s shortage of skilled labour. We look forward to intensifying our work with the EU, Member States and social partners to maximise the potential of the European Year of Skills,” concluded Raluca Marian.