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Driver CPC: are you ready?

  • 28 July 2010
  • By Will Shiers

Whether you love it or loathe it, Driver CPC is with us, and is here to stay. Between now and September 2014, every HGV licence holder is obliged to undergo five days of compulsory training.

While Commercial Motor isn’t a fan of the Driver CPC, and sees it as yet another expense that this industry can do without, there is no sense in burying your head in the sand. In our opinion you might as well make the best of a bad situation, embrace the legislation, and turn it to your advantage.

Keri Ashton, HR manager, resourcing and development at Fraikin, which has been providing expert CPC tuition since September 2009, is a CPC expert.

Here she gives CM readers her top 10 tips to get the most out of CPC training.

Start planning now

We are already one year into Driver CPC, and only a small proportion of the industry has taken up the mantle and actually started training. Keri warns that this delay could result in panic buying in four years’ time, when hauliers fight for limited spaces on CPC courses.

Inevitably, as demand outstrips supply, this is going to push up training prices and really play havoc with operators’ finances. “In addition, there is no guarantee that the agency labour you currently use will be CPC-qualified, so there may well be a premium cost for relief drivers too,” she says.

Make use of your peaks and troughs

Keri advises hauliers to take advantage of seasonal demand fluctuations, and ensure that training takes place during traditionally quiet periods. “Make sure your provider can work around your business peaks and troughs, making it easier for you to release people and continue to satisfy your customers,” she explains. “It may mean you can manage without engaging agency labour, therefore not incurring additional costs.”

Always make it part of the business

CPC training isn’t cheap, and you don’t want to waste your money. With this in mind, it’s so important that you shop around and find courses that are actually relevant for your line of work. Keri says: “Some providers will write and register bespoke courses for your business that cover the syllabus and also link into your business initiatives, for example, health and safety, customer care or SAFED.

“This is a cost effective way of gaining your Driver CPC and some direct business benefit.”

What are you paying for?

Take some time to do some research and find out exactly what you are paying for. She points out that while some trainers provide an all-inclusive charge for training (e.g. including DVLA upload fee, certificate, course notes and refreshments), others have a basic rate and charge extra for everything else. “Make sure you are comparing like with like when it comes to looking at cost,” she warns.

Contingency plan

What contingency plan has the training provider got in place in case its trainer is unable to deliver on the day? Does it have another qualified CPC trainer who can step into the breach? Remember, by this stage you may have already organised agency staff to replace the drivers on the course.

Up-to-date driver details

Ensure that you have up-to-date details of all of your drivers. Registered CPC providers are required to submit driving licence details, and they may ask you for a list. They will also require that the drivers bring their driving licences on the day.

It’s not just your drivers

Remember, there may be other people on your payroll who require a Driver CPC. Transport managers and technicians, who currently have a vocational licence or acquired rights (for vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes), will require periodic CPC training if they drive as part of their role.

Working time considerations

Under the Working Time Directive, if a driver is paid by their employer to attend training (including periodic CPC training), this time counts as working time. Clearly this may have an impact on your drivers’ hours entitlements. In addition, Saturday training may not be the wisest move if overtime has to be paid and shifts need to be rearranged to accommodate rest periods.

“And you definitely shouldn’t assume that everyone is up to speed on the basics of working hours, as our experience shows there are massive differences in understanding,” says Keri.

Expect absentees

From Fraikin’s experience, it is inevitable that some individuals won’t attend their CPC training. Make sure you have agreed with your CPC training provider how they can cover these no-shows. Can they easily be rebooked onto another course soon?


A ‘classroom’ can be an alien environment for a driver, so make sure that the course you choose is interactive and engages the delegates. “Seven hours of ‘chalk and talk’ or ‘Death by Powerpoint’ will make them less inclined to attend the next one,” warns Keri.

“Training and learning new skills and information will be hard work, but if your courses are relevant and interesting they will also be enjoyable.”


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