Migrant Workers Could Solve
Taxi Driver Shortage
Migrant workers could hold the key to addressing the shortage of taxi drivers in Derry. In the first joint initiative of its kind in the city, the North West Migrants Forum has linked up with Foyle Taxi Co to encourage those from minoritised communities to consider a career in the cab industry.
The Covid pandemic took a heavy toll on the taxi sector. During the enforced break countless drivers opted to either retire or to reskill. Recruitment continues to be a problem and is impacting on the ability of companies to operate at full capacity.
James Devenney of Foyle Taxi Co said that previously his firm had 200+ drivers on its books. Today that figure stands below the 200 mark. He hopes that partnering with the North West Migrants Forum will help bridge the staff shortage.
Mr Devenney said, “We are recruiting because the bottom line is that we need more drivers to meet the increasing demands of our service. We have advertised on our own Facebook page and the response there has been good. We are hoping to attract more females into the industry and those from minority backgrounds, both of which are under represented in the taxi sector. That is why we have connected with the North West Migrants Forum in the way that we have.”
A second element of the collaboration will be diversity training for existing Foyle Taxi Co drivers. With local communities becoming increasingly multi-cultural, James Devenney said a greater awareness and understanding was important for his team.
“Diversity training will be a very useful exercise in terms of inclusivity and I know it is something our drivers will want to be involved in.”
Director of Programmes at the North West Migrants Forum, Lilian Seenoi Barr, said her organisation was very excited to be partnering with Foyle Taxi Co.
Ms Barr said, “We welcome the opportunity to support the company as they seek to diversify and expand their knowledge of the minoritised communities living in our city and district.
“We would also commend Foyle Taxi Co for recognising that minoritised people have a role to play in growing the local economy. These are people who have made Derry their home and who want to participate fully in all aspects of public life and service.”
In terms of what Foyle Taxi Co can offer to prospective drivers, the firm has a range of incentives. Providing that they have held an ordinary driving licence for at least two years, the company will help individuals prepare for their PSV theory and practical driving taxi licence. They will also offer further assistance and incentives with getting on the road in terms of insurance cover and providing vehicle for hire or rent to buy. Packages can be tailored to suit the individual to become an integral part of a building team.
James Devenney said, “The first thing someone should do is contact ourselves so we can start the ball rolling, we can see where they are at and answer any questions they might have.
“Things won’t happen overnight and it can be a lengthy process but when we can get a group of people together then we can start the training.”
The Foyle Taxi Co owner added that partnering with the North West Migrants Forum was a golden opportunity to forge a career in a sector that pays well.
Mr Devenney said, “It used to be the case that you would have to work late nights and long weekends to make money in taxiing but that is no longer the case. We have drivers who are making well above the hourly living wage after expenses and the take home pay is still good and it will only grow as things progress.”
Lilian Seenoi Barr added that all too often minoritised communities are painted as being in direct competition for native jobs.
That is far from the case, the North West Migrants Forum Director said.
“The reality is that the job shortage has to be met by someone and there are people in our communities right now who can play an active role in creating wealth in our local economy. Where previously they may not have viewed the taxi industry as a viable option, this partnership sends out the message that there is a great opportunity for employment here.”
Anyone interested should contact:
Johnny at Foyle Taxi Co. on 028 71 377 537 or 0784 9930 103