Guide to the Driver CPC

The Driver CPC has now come into force, meaning that HGV drivers must complete 35 hours of periodic training (PT) every five years to remain qualified in their profession. Without PT, a driver cannot continue driving HGVs. Existing drivers have acquired rights and automatically gain their Driver CPC, while new drivers must go through the whole process from scratch, including passing their HGV driving test. Acquired rights drivers must still take 35 hours of training between now and 2014 – the details are held electronically by the Driving Standards Agency (DSA), and drivers must carry their Driver Qualification Card at all times when working. The good news is that there is plenty of flexibility in the system. Drivers and their employers may choose to carry out the training at any time during the five-year period, or parcel it out over the years, at a minimum of seven hours a time. In practice, this means that there is no rush for any driver or employer to book training courses for the next few years. However, training professionals warn against putting off the task believing that a last-minute rush before 2014 will cause training prices to increase as hauliers scramble to ensure their drivers are qualified. The training itself is also flexible. It can relate to generic knowledge such as drivers’ hours, load security, digital tachographs and working time regulations, or it can focus on the specialist nature of a driver’s work, such as ADR or multi-drop delivery. Employers do not need to bring in an outside trainer – they can set up their own courses – but all courses, whoever the provider, must be approved by the industry body Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT). So, with the advent of the Driver CPC, is there a rush on, or are hauliers in recession-battered Britain biding their time before sending drivers on courses? Derek Broomfield is managing director of Novadata in Braintree, Essex, which has been providing driver training for nearly 30 years. He reports that bookings are steady, but expects a big rush in five years’ time. “Coming up to 2014, I may have to book the Albert Hall,” he jokes. He has even heard rumours that the Driver CPC may go away! Many of his clients are specialists in their fields, and he is called upon to ‘train their trainers’. One operator delivers meals to aircrafts and runs a three-day training course for its drivers. “We also do courses in the construction sector,” reports Bloomfield. The companies booking now are those that normally give training a high priority, and Bloomfield notes an increased demand for courses on Saturdays. He says some drivers will not be involved for practical reasons. “If Fred is retiring in five years, what’s the point of the Driver CPC?” His firm marked the launch of the Driver CPC by devoting a week to relevant courses, including: * Digitach and drivers’ hours * First aid, preventing physical risk * Staying legal * Driver as ambassador Cardinus Risk Management believes that drivers staying in the industry will reap long-term benefits from the Driver CPC. “The qualification is aimed not only at improving the knowledge and skills of the drivers when they start work, but also at ensuring these skills are maintained and developed throughout their working life,” says managing director Marcus Noble. His company is offering day-long, seven-hour courses across the UK, at a cost of £75 per head. “This will allow drivers to fulfil their training requirements over one day per year and minimise disruption to the business.” Who pays? Ed Pargeter, director of EP Training at Great Bookham, Surrey, also reports “no mad rush”, although bookings have started coming in. As for who funds the training, Pargeter says that it’s a mixture. “Some customers pay, others expect their drivers to pay,” he says. A popular approved course is initial ADR, which gives 21 hours towards the 35 required over five years. The ADR day is actually six hours, but an extra hour’s revision is added to bring a three-day course to 21 hours, since PT training must be a minimum of seven hours at a time. A refresher ADR course can only count as seven hours towards the total “General courses can range from drivers’ hours to healthy eating,” says Pargeter. The company’s specialist courses include one for local authority drivers. Since many companies prefer to do their own training, EP can supply the training materials, including PowerPoint presentations, for six courses. They cost £250 for one seven-hour course, or £995 for all six. “We’ve sold six,” says Pargeter. The Road Haulage Association (RHA) is one of the largest training providers in the UK. Steve Ellis, RHA head of training, says that basic compliance issues are most sought after, including: * Drivers’ hours * Walk-round checks * Safe loading * Fuel-efficient driving “For the major players, it is just a question of adjusting their systems to ensure the courses are approved and are long enough. It will bring some of the stragglers on board. Anything that raises the profile of drivers and gives them a more professional image has got to be a good thing.” The RHA offers a five-day ‘Train the Trainer’ course, which calls for students to pass three theory tests and a practical. They receive PowerPoint presentations and other material to take away. “If they are designing their own course, they should be able to get JAUPT approval,” says Ellis. The course costs £1,000 for RHA members and £1,250 for non members. Driver CPC day courses for drivers cost £115 for members; £125 non-members. The cost includes the £8.75 fee to upload the driver’s training record onto the DSA database. Ellis says that employers who see training as just a cost have got the wrong attitude. “The big advantage of the Driver CPC is that there’s no core programme. You can use it to suit your business, not just as a tick box.” Periodic training – the facts * Driver CPC requires all category C and D licence holders (including C1 and D1) to complete 35 hours of training every five years to maintain their CPC qualification. * Those who already hold the relevant category of driving licence on 10 September 2009 have acquired (grandfather) rights and have until September 2014 to complete their periodic training. Those who pass their initial qualification have five years from the date they qualified to complete their PT. The initial qualification includes additional modules, normally taken along with the HGV driving test. * Training courses must be approved by JAUPT, and each course must be at least seven hours in duration. The training may be taken at any time during the five-year period. For example, if an acquired-rights driver completed all 35 hours of training this year ahead of the 2014 deadline, his next Driver CPC would have an expiry date of 2019. * The form the training takes is flexible – it may be workshop or classroom-based or in-vehicle training. * Training will be recorded on a driver qualification card (DQC), which must be carried by the driver when they are behind the wheel. It is issued on completion of the initial test and when 35 hours of PT have been completed. * The cards are issued automatically by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and PT is recorded on a central database run by the Driving Standards Agency. * The cards are free to drivers with a photocard licence or £25 to those with a paper licence. A £25 fee applies for lost cards. Drivers must apply for a new card within seven days and can drive for 15 days without one. Source: Freight Transport Association Time management The FTA is hoping that operators will not wait until the last minute and face either more expensive courses or a lack of availability. It is offering a five-year deal to encourage early take up. “Our responsibility is to meet everyone’s needs,” says FTA training manager Nick Allen. “Some firms want us to help them set up specialist courses and get them approved so we go into partnership and carry out the main generic training on drivers’ hours, digital tachographs and safer loading.” The FTA’s training fees are negotiable, based on class size and length of contract. Allen recognises that some firms are having difficulty in allocating training budgets because the severity of the recession makes survival the first priority. He worries that some firms will be paying for courses that are effectively box-ticking exercises where drivers turn up and ‘sleep’ for seven hours “To avoid this, we are offering the Driver CPC-plus, where there is an exam at the end of the day. The driver benefits by getting a certificate and the employer has evidence of the knowledge gained.” Add your comments Taken from: