As an industry we have always had an element of cynicism in response to change or efforts to regulate our activities.
Far too many employers have an in-built reluctance to train staff and many drivers choose not to improve their knowledge and are scared of any attempt to do so.
Some employers assume that drivers arrive with them ‘fully trained’ because they hold an LGV licence, and some drivers see training as something that is a chore – like a trip to the dentist. So it is not surprising that the chatter among drivers and on driver forums is totally negative.
RHA Training works with large numbers of drivers, and the worst groups to motivate and stimulate are those where the employer has arranged the training on a Saturday and then expects the drivers to attend in their own time having completed a week’s work.
The RHA has every sympathy with hard-pressed members who face the choice of paying the fuel bill and wages or buying DCPC training but, unless they approach it in a more positive light, they will continue to waste their money and the drivers will continue to mirror their behaviours.
It is essential that employers consider what they want to achieve from their investment. Just ask: ‘How can I improve my business? Is it reduced fuel consumption, fewer accidents, improved compliance, better customer service, etc?’ Only then should they consider how to achieve that, and see how that can be done within the syllabus. This way any training will offer a return on their investment.
We are also very concerned about rumours of cheating by some trainers. JAUPT’s auditing process will not catch anyone cheating: it will only identify honest trainers who have missed out some element of a bureaucratic process. There is no ‘policing’ as such and this has to change.
Many operators, large and small, have realised that the most cost-effective way to approach DCPC has to be one-day-a-year, which controls costs in each year, manages downtime and ensures benefits are gained as early as possible.
This also allows drivers to get used to their annual training day and, in an ideal world and if handled well, they might even begin to look forward to it.
The first experience that drivers get of the CPC will be critical to their view of the process going forward, so selecting the right course from the right provider in the first instance is crucial.
The SAFED programme proved without doubt that even the hard-bitten cynical driver can learn new ways of working that saves money: the average fuel saving across over 6,000 drivers was better than 10%. The DCPC is a reality, and operators should use it to their benefit.