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Driver CPC: it’s time to face the facts

  • 12 August 2011
  • By Karen Crispe

Next month, it will be two years since Driver CPC was first introduced. So where are we now? Karen Crispe, Tachodisc managing director discusses the issue.

Despite all the rumours, and hopes of some, that Driver CPC might have been scrapped last year with the new government or will be reviewed now by the Red Tape Challenge, we have to move forward with the realisation that it is not going away. The reason being is that Driver CPC is an EU Directive, and therefore it cannot be changed or eradicated by the UK government and the deadline for completing training will be enforced in September 2014.

This slow start means that only five million training hours have been delivered in the last two years. The figures show we are way behind the target of delivering 3.5 million hours a year, the amount needed to meet the deadline. Now many thousands of drivers face cramming in the required hours before the 2014 deadline date. 

The result is that the 1,000 JAUPT-approved training centres are expecting a huge uptake in the demand for courses over the next two to three years. This is fuelling rumours about price increases, availability and even the need for mass training events in auditoriums and old aircraft hangers. If the latter is true and is needed to solve the ‘stacking-up’ issue, we believe this will dumb-down the purpose of Driver CPC and will serve to devalue the whole concept further. It will become more about ‘clocking’ hours in order to tick a box, rather than about drivers gaining meaningful knowledge from an experienced trainer in a classroom environment. 

Driver CPC is also being mocked further by a few training companies offering drivers the chance to attend a three-hour course for a small fee and in return receive an accredited Driver CPC certificate for the full seven hours. The authorities claim they can only deal with this situation if official complaints are made – but who is going to complain!

Another frustration is that although CPC trainers have to be verified, what checks are in place to ensure they actually have the expertise to run a particular course? We have heard several stories from drivers who have attended courses where the trainer reads verbatim from a text book, which indicates they have little understanding of their subject matter. What we must not lose sight of, is that drivers can really benefit from Driver CPC, but only if the courses are delivered by experienced and knowledgeable trainers. This means not always choosing the cheapest option – you do get what you pay for.

However, the biggest concern we hear from small to mid-sized operators – the chunk of the transport market – is about paying for the courses, saying that it is the driver’s responsibility. In response, Tachodisc recently launched a Driver CPC Loyalty Scheme, which enables customers to spread the training costs with easy payment terms, fixed discounted prices during the agreement period, plus the ability to schedule and priority book courses.  Since introducing this, we now have some operators who are taking a small amount of money out of their driver’s pay packet weekly/monthly and paying it direct into this scheme.

Other operators are taking advantage of the scheme to pay for the training themselves, but have specified in the drivers’ contract of employment that if they leave after a given period of time, they must pay a percentage of the training costs back to the company.

Not surprisingly, we have also heard cases where operators are recruiting new drivers on the basis that they have already undertaken a certain number of CPC training hours.

Looking forward, we have three very challenging years ahead if we are to combat the ‘stacking-up’ issue and ensure all drivers have a DQC by the deadline. I’ve no doubt that the next question will be ‘what happens if this cannot be achieved?’ 

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Article source: http://www.commercialmotor.com:80/latest-news/Driver-CPC-its-time-to-face-the-facts