How do I train my drivers

Operator Advice on Driver CPC

Firstly, decide who it will affect?
That’s probably most employees! Besides all the full-time drivers with LGV or PCV licences, part-timers, office staff and mechanics who occasionally drive also need to be considered. Essentially anyone who might drive commercially ‘in-service’ needs to have completed the 35 hours periodic training by 10th September 2013 for PCV and 10th September 2014 for LGV.

You might want to include other employees who don’t drive trucks or buses and coaches commercially, such as any member of staff who either drives a car for the company or deals with directly with drivers. These employees will benefit from nearly all the training and understand all the road risk issues and your company policies– for example, why it’s important not to telephone to speak a driver whilst they’re driving!

You need to decide whether to include older drivers nearing retirement, simply because they might still be driving after the deadlines for drivers with ‘acquired rights’, despite them reaching normal retirement age by then – remember employees don’t have to retire at 65 if they elect not to! There are often good reasons for including experienced employees for compliance reasons, contractual requirements or the fact that you have no training records for employees who started many years ago.

Decide how to carry out the training
There are various ways of carrying out the training. These include:-
Sending drivers on Public Courses offered by training providers at their own training centres.
Buying in the services of an external training provider to provide courses for you.
Carrying out the training yourself by becoming a registered centre and registering your own courses with the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT)

Buying in a training provider to run your own company courses is probably the lowest cost option for most small to medium sized operators (SME’s). The training provider should provide a 7 hours course for a fixed fee, plus a ‘per delegate’ rate for training materials. Current prices start around £45 per 7 hour course if you can find around 20 drivers for the training day. Many providers are offering ‘5 year deals’ over the full 5year training cycle. You will need to provide a suitable room (plus refreshments) and pay your drivers for their time.

Doing it yourself requires some considerable resources, not just the cost of registering as a Centre (£1500 for a 5 year period) and registering courses (at a cost of £252 per course each year). You will have to develop and write courses that meet the approval of the JAUPT. You will need to create and register 35 hours worth of courses, although 7 hours will probably suffice for most operators at least in year one and two. Some training providers offer courses and training materials available for purchase to make this option easier for those with limited resources. If you can find sufficient drivers and employ your own ‘trainer’ this can be cost effective, but remember to include all the overheads and hidden costs! It’s difficult to price up this option, but the true total costs will run into several of thousands of pounds.

Public courses are the most expensive, with current prices being in the region of £125 -£250 per driver day. Those courses involving ‘on-road’ training tend to be even more expensive as there is a lower trainee/trainer ratio than in a classroom situation.

Decide who should pay for the training
Is your Company going to pay for the training? Remember your existing drivers won’t be able to drive after 2013/14 deadline if you don’t ensure they have completed 35 hours periodic training and obtained their driver CPC card.

Are you going to pay for part-timers? They often get companies out of a tight jam, but the cost of the training needs to be set against how often they are used. Agency drivers will probably have to obtain their own training by attending public courses or courses organised through the agency.

Decide what the training should be about
You have a surprising choice if you carry out the training yourself. The syllabus isn’t rigid and you can tailor courses to your own business requirements. Public courses will have a ‘fixed’ syllabus, probably closely following the official guidelines, so you’ll have to find those courses that suit your needs – some might not be particularly relevant to your business needs.

Decide when to carry out the training
You know when your business can accommodate the training. For most small businesses this is likely to be in the winter rather than the summer, although the summer school holidays can be a quieter time for many.

Don’t leave this training on the back burner – if you do you face future problems. You could end up having to close your business if you leave it too late. Drivers will have to sit in a classroom to complete the training at the last minute, the training cost will be far more expensive if it becomes a ‘distress purchase’ in 2013/14. The Traffic Commissioners and VOSA will not accept the excuse that you forgot to check if your drivers had completed the periodic training.

Will it benefit my business?
By providing training, operators are investing in their most valuable asset – their people. The most successful operators already carry out compliant training, so the driver CPC will have little impact on their costs. The outcome of the Periodic Training should be improved business performance from a more professional workforce of drivers and improved safety for everyone, including your customers.

Where can you obtain further advice? The Joint Approval Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT) is the organisation delegated by the DSA to implement and manage the Periodic Training. Their website has a list of trainers willing to offer external training, including course description and which regions they serve. www.skillsforlogistics.org

Go-Skills can assist with advising operators on all training opportunities, including Driver CPC www.goskills.org

Nationwide Transport Training offer a one stop shop’ brokerage service and will assist in finding training courses and take bookings www.nationwidetransporttraining.com

The Association of Trainers (a not-for profit organisation) can probably give the widest range of advice and point you in the right direction. Advice is free to Members. For further information contact Ross Locket on 01788 577877 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.