Well before the implementation date of September 10 2009, EP Training was busy preparing for the Driver CPC, attaining JAUPT approval as a training centre and writing numerous periodic courses. We invested in extra training, as well as a costly advertising campaign. Free training seminars were offered to notify new and existing customers what Driver CPC was about, and how our company could assist them in complying with the new legislation.
We had everything in place and were ready to go from day one. We even decided to start running Driver CPC ‘train the trainer’ courses to assist those organisations in achieving JAUPT approval centre and course approval. So, everything was ready and we were raring to go – just one slight problem; no customers.
I say no customers, but that is not strictly true. To begin with, September, October and November did see some drivers attend our courses. Perhaps it was the novelty factor, but the numbers we envisaged and hoped for have been nowhere in sight. I can count on one hand the number of courses we delivered from our centre that were attended by 12 drivers or more. For the most part, there were anything from one to four students and that’s not including the 50% plus of all scheduled courses we didn’t run at all, as take-up was zero.
We reduced our course prices by more than 30% to attract more customers. We also thought maybe the fact that some hauliers decided to get JAUPT approval and deliver in-house Driver CPC training could be a factor in our poor uptake. However, having spoken with the DSA and other like-minded training firms, it would appear uptake overall from the haulage industry has been poor at best, and disastrous at worst.
Year two is now upon us and we have reduced course prices even further and changed our courses to try to attract more interest. Gone are manual handling and preventing falls from vehicles. Year two will see us run modules on drivers’ hours, ADR and accident procedure and prevention. Assuming nearly 500,000 HGV drivers will need to obtain their Driver CPC, 17 million hours of periodic training must be completed by September 2014. That is three-and-a-half million hours on average every year. Year one is up and no more than one million hours have been completed so far. That’s a shortfall of two-and-a-half million in year one already.
Unless drastic action is taken by the DSA, JAUPT and the industry as a whole, we are sleepwalking into one of the biggest training requirement bottlenecks this industry has ever known. The DSA can pretty much tackle the problem of slow intake overnight, by making seven hours of training mandatory every year, and investing in a comprehensive marketing campaign rather than leaving it to trade journals and training establishments.
Approvals body JAUPT really needs to get a grip with training provider quality issues and not issue approval to anyone who flashes £1,500 their way. The transport industry is aware of Driver CPC, but not educated and informed enough. We still have people calling us saying they areexempt from Driver CPC as they hold an Operator CPC. Confusion and apathy is a recipe for serioustrouble down the line.
If you need Driver CPC training Initial or Periodic don’t leave it too late. Leaving it till the last minute will cost you more money. As demand rises so will prices.