It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were writing our 2014 yearly review but with the festive period upon us and our last training session taking place today, it’s time to reflect on what has been another eventful year at GRT.
With the passing of the Driver CPC periodic training deadline in September last year, many in the industry anticipated a drop-off in demand for courses. Whilst we felt this quite keenly in Perthshire, our courses in Coatbridge have continued to tick over quite nicely where we have helped many drivers who either missed the deadline or have decided to return to the industry achieve compliance.
We have tried to encourage operators to consider completing one course each year. Not only does this spread the financial investment across the five year cycle, it helps to refresh driver knowledge on an annual basis. Through our courses this year, we have helped numerous operators to address current issues in their business which have been affecting their drivers’ level of compliancy – areas include mode-switch operation, manual record entries and safe loading procedures.
If embraced properly, periodic training can be used as a means of driving continuous development of staff, the benefits of which can be seen throughout a business in the form of more knowledgeable drivers and lower vehicle maintenance costs.
We were also delighted to be chosen as one of the suppliers for the Highland Council to deliver periodic training to their 300+ workforce. To date, we have already undertaken five courses and anticipate further sessions in the New Year.
One of the main objectives this year was to produce new content for our existing client-base. Our new course, “Highway Code & Vulnerable Road Users” has been well received and has been our most popular module so far this year. It is important to us that we are able to provide customers, old and new, with a variety of content to choose from – there’s only so much drivers’ hours legislation that you can listen to before going insane! We aim to have another brand new module approved by summer 2016.
We welcomed JAUPT assessors to three courses throughout 2015 who arrived to audit the delivery of our content. Graham had the pleasure of two audits whilst Brenda was the subject of the third. Each of the courses received high commendation which is testament to the continued excellence of our trainers. These audits perform a vital role in regulating the whole Driver CPC process, helping to weed out incompetent trainers and those profiteering on the back of the legislation.
2015 also marked the introduction of ADR training to our course syllabus. Presented in conjunction with Kenny Reid from Hazardous Goods Management Ltd, we’ve held seven courses at our on-site facilities in Coatbridge and have received very positive feedback from all candidates – indeed, we can boast a 100% pass rate at present so no pressure on any future enrolees! Kenny’s expertise in hazardous goods has been a very welcome addition and we consider him an important part of our training team. Indeed, special thanks must also go to David, Brenda and Billy Alexander for their contributions throughout the year.
The face of operator licence compliance is slowly changing and 2015 saw the initiation of a system which will cause businesses across the UK to become more conscious of their ongoing adherence to legislation. DVSA Desk-Based Assessments are due to be rolled out across the country after a successful trial in the south of England in 2014 and these aim to reduce the timeframe between the identification of non-compliant operators and bringing them to Public Inquiry. Operators will be expected to supply evidence of their compliance systems and any shortfalls are likely to result in further investigative action.
Perhaps it is due to the above that the second half of 2015 saw a marked increase in the number of compliance cases that crossed our desk. We have surpassed last year’s record number of licence applications and have been delighted to welcome various new clients on board on an ongoing basis, working with their staff to achieve compliance.
We were also delighted to work alongside Carl Myers from Leeds-based consultancy Myers & Family on a case earlier in the year. Carl and his staff offer a similar service to operators in English Traffic Areas and we hope this is the beginning of a long working relationship between our companies.
Planning for next year is already underway with the recent confirmation of our training schedule. We’re introducing Operator Licence Awareness Training to our range of courses which aim to improve the working knowledge of Restricted licence holders and individuals in office-based transport roles. We will be increasing the size of our compliance team with the addition of Alison Arthur who will start working with a selection of our clients on enforcement issues.
Easier methods of booking your training will also be implemented throughout the year alongside some unique special events which will be publicised in due course. We also hope to announce our first ever charity partnership soon which will see us donate a percentage of our income from Driver CPC training.
From everyone at GRT, we’d like to take this opportunity to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.