Laura Nelson of RTITB explains why training is important and what to look for in a provider of “train-the-trainer” courses.
“To become a car driving instructor, it is a legal requirement to gain a formal qualification. To teach LGV driving, you only need to have held a license for 3 years,” says Laura Nelson, Managing Director, for RTITB, the preferred regulatory body for workplace transport training.
“While it is true that formal training, including Driver CPC (Certificate of Professional Competence), is required to obtain the license, this certificate plus three years of driving experience is not necessarily enough to impart knowledge to other drivers.”
Teaching someone else to drive an LGV requires a different skill set to driving. Instructors must have excellent communication skills and the patience to clearly explain technique, road rules and company policy. They must not only have confidence in their own skills but also the ability to build confidence in the learner, remaining calm and instilling calm in the student.
Additional important skills include organisation, time management, enthusiasm, positivity, leadership and management. For someone that has only ever been a driver, these may be new skills that they’ll need to learn not only to pass an exam, but also to be effective instructors.
Delivering formalised training means that every new driver in the company will be taught the same things in the same way, giving an official and standardised approach to learning.
“Instructors who have undergone training and testing will be able to pass on knowledge, skills, experience and best practice,” says Laura. “It can also stop bad habits being passed on from an instructor to a learner.”
Also, in the event of any incident, employers who have properly trained their instructors with a recognised qualification can show they’ve invested in suitable, professional, third-party endorsed training for their instructors and drivers. This demonstrates that they’ve done all they can to ensure safe practice.
Create a sense of pride and show staff they are valued
According to CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development), it is more cost effective to train and retain the right people than to recruit new staff*. It is also important in addressing the industry’s current skills shortage.
“If a company is willing to invest in formal training and testing, it shows employees that what they are doing has value,” explains Laura. “It helps to create a sense of pride among staff and shows new and existing staff there is an opportunity for career development.”
Completing a test such as the DVSA (Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency) endorsed National Register of Instructors (NRI) Examination, for example, gives a sense of achievement and a tangible qualification.
With the right training, instructors can be properly prepared to pass this test and, importantly, have the right standards instilled, ready to pass on to new drivers. This helps companies to reduce risks and increase professionalism and driver training standards.
What should an employer look for in a training provider?
Several organisations offer LGV instructor training, so there are a few things to consider to ensure you choose the right one.
Does the company consistently work to a high standard with a commitment to help raise standards across the industry? Do they offer a multifaceted course covering all the different skills and information an instructor needs to know, including correct techniques for training both in-class and in-cab, communication skills, driving skills and background knowledge?
A good training provider should be able to offer a suitable learning environment and facilities, along with people who possess the right knowledge and skills, applicable to relevant vehicles. They should demonstrate experience within the industry, professionalism and a dedication to providing a comprehensive training course.
“Employers should look for a training provider that prepares learners to return to their workplaces and make a genuine difference,” adds Laura. “In order to cover all the necessary information and skills, they should take from 7-10 days to complete. Any company offering a one day instructor course is offering something too good to be true.”
At the dedicated RTITB Instructor Academy, LGV instructor training courses are available which can be adapted to incorporate the standards and culture of the employers’ business, alongside the high standards of RTITB. This enables instructors to be shaped into the kind of professionals that fit within a specific business.