With the festive period nearly upon us, it is time to reflect on our busiest year yet and one that has seen significant changes to GRT that we hope will help us to provide our customers with an even better service.
Most significantly was our relocation to Coatbridge Business Centre from our previous tenancy at the Containerbase. Having nurtured some close relationships with a number of local operators, it was important to us that we remained in North Lanarkshire and our new facilities provide us with the platform to continue to grow and develop further links in the community. The feedback from our customers has been unanimously positive and our customised training suite has provided a much more comfortable environment to conduct our range of training courses.
Another new introduction this year was the addition of Karen Longmire to our office staff. Karen joined us to help contend with the increased workload generated from Driver CPC training and has since returned on a permanent basis. Her assistance was greatly appreciated during the peak period where the piles of paperwork were mountainous and she continues to be an important part of our team.
As calendars flipped onto 2014, it marked the beginning of an unprecedented demand for Driver CPC training with the LGV deadline due to approach in September. Throughout the year, our trainers have clocked up the miles on our company car with sessions in Aberdeen, Campbeltown, Dundee, Dunoon, Greenock, Lochgilphead and Oban in addition to our regular courses held in Perth. To put it in perspective, we have conducted over 100 courses this year and almost double the number that we carried out in 2013.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the contribution of our fantastic trainers so special thanks must go to David, Brenda and Kenny for their efforts throughout this year.
We have now helped over 850 drivers complete their periodic training. It is fair to say that the Driver CPC legislation was (and in many respects continues) to be opposed by some drivers, some of whom we welcomed to courses throughout the year. One of the greatest compliments to our trainers is that these drivers invariably left having learned something new and with a slightly softer view of the benefits of continuous professional development in the transport industry.
The increased demand for training as the deadline crept closer resulted in us reneging on something that we had previously refused to offer. Five day intensive courses in any topic can often descend into something not far removed from Chinese water torture and it was our view that the value of an individual’s training would be somewhat diminished if they chose to complete it this way. Once again however, it was testament to our training staff that these courses were a great success and it is our intention to offer more in the New Year.
Shortly following the training deadline, we welcomed JAUPT’s John McLarty back to our offices to conduct an administrative audit. Having achieved full marks in an audit back in 2011, we were delighted to achieve similar success on this occasion.
On the compliance front, this year saw the formation of the DVSA which amalgamated the DSA and VOSA into a single agency. From our perspective, after the DVSA launch in April, we experienced a noticeable increase in the number of enquiries from operators who had impending maintenance or drivers’ hours investigations. Whether this is coincidental, or is perhaps related to the Operator Compliance Risk Score (OCRS) system now being more fully embraced, is unknown but operators should be vigilant and ensure their systems are robust and fit for purpose.
Despite a slight reduction in the number of operator licences in issue and in the number of new applications processed*, we have assisted a record number of operators in their licence application process. Licence applications can be error-strewn procedures and can often take a lot longer than they really should due to a number of common mistakes. It is important to disclose all relevant information as deceiving a Traffic Commissioner at the time of application can risk your licence in the future.
The wheels are already in motion for next year as we look to expand our range of training options and we’re delighted to welcome Kenny Reid and Billy Alexander who will conduct our ADR and plant training respectively.
If 2015 is to be anything like this year then we certainly can’t wait to see what it has in store.
From all at GRT, we would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
*Statistics taken from Traffic Commissioner’s Report 2013-14.