Anyone working in the UK transport industry will be aware of the need to keep abreast of up-to-date changes and opportunities in HGV driver training and, in particular, the importance of compliance with regards to the Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (Driver CPC). The Freight Transport Association has expressed concerns that proposed revisions to the CPC by the European Commission post-Brexit will have an impact on drivers receiving adequate and relevant training. |
Current Driver CPC Training
The primary aim of the compulsory Driver CPC is to increase road safety and awareness by ensuring that drivers are better trained and up-to-date with the latest legislation. For employers, the benefits of the Driver CPC include not just more efficient productivity but also lower costs in terms of insurances, fuel economy, less downtime due to accidents, longer vehicle life due to better driver practices and improved staff morale and retention.
Professional drivers (coach, bus, lorry) must gain the qualification alongside their regular commercial driving licence or any other HGV driver training certifications and, in the current model, in addition the holder must undertake a mandatory 35 hours approved periodic training every five years.
Proposed Changes Post-Brexit
The FTA restated their commitment to the Driver CPC as a valuable piece of European legislation and voted to amend it rather than withdraw from it, post-Brexit, saying it "validates the role of the driver and gives individuals a sense of professional worth." However, I have to agree with their concerns about one of the proposed changes preventing drivers from focusing on the same subject within the five-year mandatory refresher training.
While I can see that the amendment has been proposed in order to prevent shortcomings in drivers' training and offer a broader range of knowledge, by disallowing refresher courses on the same subject, my concern (and that of the FTA) is that a driver would be forced to undergo HGV driver training that is not relevant to his/her particular professional role, and result in out-dated training (and lack of legislation knowledge) in the specialised industry sector in which they do actually work. So, in areas like dangerous goods and sensitive or high security work, there could end up being a shortfall in the vital specialised training required just in order to comply with the statutory requirements of the CPC.
The FTA has been steadfast in its commitment to the CPC, but insists that it is imperative that the training curriculum maintains flexibility in order to create a tailored learning programme to suit the broad needs of the industry. In fact, they've called for more flexibility in terms of how, when and where training is presented, in order to focus on the best method of delivery for individual drivers.
Keep Calm and Carry On
Despite the issue with regards to the training curriculum, the directive from the European Commission on the Driver CPC was generally positive. I'm fairly confident the majority of proposed changes should work as they were intended in terms of improving safety, HGV driver training and fair working conditions. I'll be watching with interest and supporting the FTA in their quest to ensure the proposed changes include a positive outcome for the mandatory training curriculum.
Norman Dulwich is a Correspondent for Haulage Exchange, the leading online trade network for the road transport industry. Connecting logistics professionals across the UK and Europe through their website, Haulage Exchange is the leading service for matching haulage jobs with available vehicles. They also provide expert articles on HGV driver training and other freight industry related topics. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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