Fleet News

Warning as industry faces skills shortage

A SKILLS crisis is facing the fleet industry as it gears up for some of the most challenging changes in its history, leading employment experts are warning. Along with carbon dioxide-based company car tax in 2002, decision-makers have to grapple with major changes to Inland Revenue Authorised Mileage Rates and changes to fuel scale charges that are attempting to wipe out the perk of free fuel for private mileage.

But while the demands to stay on top of changes are soaring for fleets and their suppliers to make sure they keep costs under control, in practice there is little focus on training or expertise. Roger James, managing director of fleet recruitment company Perfect 4 Fleet Recruitment, said: 'I don't think the importance of these changes and the demands they will place on the fleet department have filtered through yet.

'We are coming across companies that are not making changes to their fleet policies when they clearly need to and are not advising their drivers they need to make changes.' He added that fleets and suppliers alike had to embrace the potential benefits of recruitment and consultancy companies for improving fleet managers' performance and therefore their careers.

James, who was formerly the commercial director for CW Lease, said: 'The industry needs to bring professional staff on board, retain them and train them, but employers seem reluctant to do that. The key to success for fleets and their suppliers, including contract hire companies, is the people that they employ. But if employers carry on with their current attitude to getting the right people then their problems will just continue.'

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