Tue, November 16, 2021
How Driver CPC training has affected nearly all new or existing professional drivers
Since its inception in 2008 for bus and coaches and 2009 for the HGV sector, Driver CPC has affected nearly all new or existing professional drivers. When we say affected, we mean most PCV and HGV professional drivers will have completed either their initial or periodic CPC training obligations.
From 10th September 2009, lorry drivers with acquired rights (had a licence to drive a goods vehicle over 3.5 tonnes) would have had to complete 35 hours formal training every 5 years. As this qualification is valid for no more than 60 months many professional HGV drivers would be on their 3rd cycle already, meaning more than 100 hours would have attended!
As far as numbers of HGV drivers that would be subject to ongoing periodic CPC training, it’s estimated over 300,000 come within scope. Overall, when you look at the numbers, it’s a mammoth undertaking to ensure drivers attend their courses and training providers can meet the demand. That’s a lot of “classroom” or “online” tuition undertaken.
There has been much criticism of Driver CPC and it’s fair to say this comes in the main from the drivers themselves. Lack of instructor knowledge, poor tuition and not relevant subject matter are just a few of the common complaints.
A lot of the above can be resolved by beefing up the quality assurance processes and procedures that the governing bodies adopt when approving companies to deliver Periodic Driver CPC. You might be surprised to know you could wake up tomorrow morning, pay £1,500, make a phone call, fill in an application form and by the end of the day you’re an approved company to deliver Driver CPC training. And no site visit undertaken.
Currently there are over 2,500 “approved” Driver CPC companies in the UK. That’s a lot of choice and a huge variety in standards. Most of these companies are reputable, established and deliver training to the highest of standards. There is also a minority that do not go with the spirit of Driver CPC. They cut corners, drop standards and give the whole CPC concept a bad reputation.
With so many companies all vying for your business how do you know which are the better ones out there? If you have to spend 5 lots of 7 hours every 5 years either in a classroom or online completing your 35 hours, it makes sense to get value for your money and do your research.
The best advice always is to get a personal recommendation. Just about all truck drivers will have attended some training courses already, perhaps with different training providers. They might know the good ones or any ones which may be worth a swerve. There are also many groups on Facebook and other social media platforms dedicated to the HGV driver community. Many on there to help and advise.
Just about all transport training companies will have a presence online where you can view previous customers’ reviews and comments. There are websites, like Trustpilot where you can assess their standards and star rating.
Another thing to consider when booking and completing your training is how you want to do it? There are many options to undergoing your 35 hours.
When Covid made an introduction in 2020 and caused most of us to stay at home the DVSA permitted for the first time Driver CPC to be completed online. This was a great alternative to the requirement to attend classroom sessions. Completing Driver CPC online has revolutionised the way HGV drivers train. In a digital age nearly all of us have internet connectivity and an electronic device with a microphone and camera. Having these means you are all set up to train and complete your Driver CPC from home.
The advantages to online training are many, including the lack of need to travel to the classroom, acquiring suitable parking facilities and reducing carbon emissions by staying at home. Finally - price. When Driver CPC went online EP Training was one of the first to offer this service at a heavily reduced rate.
Pre online, EP Training’s Driver CPC training was all classroom based and a 5-day training course was priced at £425. As the overhead costs of running Driver CPC online were considerably less than the classroom, they lowered the cost to only £250. That price is inclusive of all tuition fees, VAT and the £43.75 charge for the Driver CPC Card (DQC).
For this Surrey based local HGV training company, the permission to deliver online training was a much-needed boost as for nearly 10 months Covid shut down all the HGV driving test centres.
Moving Driver CPC online meant EP Training could widen its geographical customer base. Pre online, most students were typically located within a 30-mile catchment of their training centre in Leatherhead, Surrey. Today their customers are from all 4 corners of the United Kingdom. Online Driver CPC has proved to be so popular it would be safe to say, despite it being introduced as a temporary measure, it is here to stay. When it comes to basic Periodic Driver CPC Training EP Training has no intention of going back into the classroom. The feedback they have received from their customers and the flexibility of training from home makes internet the only choice.
When you complete your online Driver CPC 5 days with EP Training, you will need to dedicate Monday through to Friday and hours of 8am to 4pm. That is 7 hours a day tuition with the required breaks. There is still no examination that must be passed to be awarded a DQC. The requirement is to attend and complete the sessions only, however, participation is encouraged and expected. Whilst undertaking online Driver CPC training, student cameras must be switched on. Normally microphones are muted, otherwise feedback and people talking over each other can cause issues. The 5 days cover a wide spectrum of subject that relate to HGV driver duties, including Drivers Hours and Record Keeping, Drivers Walk Round Checks, First Aid, Loading Vehicles, Vulnerable Road Users, Legal Obligations, Vehicle Maintenance and Customer Care. Just about everything you need to know to “hit the ground running” when you start driving an HGV.
It was also good news that as of January 2021, authorisation was also granted to deliver ADR training online. Although EP Training did provide ADR online during the pandemic it has since reverted back to classroom tuition. You can still get Driver CPC hours whilst attending a classroom ADR course. Just check their ADR training page for more details
Please note. Before you enrol onto any Driver CPC course, whether in classroom or online, it is no longer possible to complete the same course (7 hours) in a 5-year block. Attending the same course in a 60-month block may mean the duplicate course not counting towards your 35 hours.
The reason this restriction was brought in is that too many students were attending the same Driver CPC course more than once. Although something needed to be done to prevent this happening the rules are now too stringent and can cause more problems than solutions. For example, a First Aid Certification is normally valid for 2 years. To renew the qualification another session must be completed every 2 years.
Another example might be a lorry driver has been found to be in breach of the Drivers’ Hours Regulations and as a result the operator (employer) needs to send him or her on a 7-hour Driver CPC course. If, 18 months later, that same driver is again in breach of their hours’ rules, he or she is no longer able to attend a drivers hours course again.
One thing for sure, Driver CPC is going nowhere, so getting good value and quality training is essential in making this qualification count. Despite the recent Government changes regarding the HGV testing regime, Driver CPC was omitted from any of the proposals. In the recent letter the Government sent to all HGV licence holders urging them to “drive” again, they were informed they must have their DQC. The acute HGV Drivers shortage has exposed just how fragile our commercial sector is and some might say Driver CPC contributes to this. Some see Driver CPC as another barrier to obtaining HGV and driving commercially, however, in the scheme of things one day per year training should not be viewed as a mitigating factor. There is nothing wrong with ongoing training as long as it has value and purpose.
The haulage sector is a highly regulated industry with many rules and that includes the driver who is responsible for his vehicle and load whilst on the road. Drivers’ hours, vehicle defects and overloading are just some of the legal responsibilities lorry drivers are subject to during their working hours. The penalties for non-compliance can be costly. Therefore, it is vital drivers are educated and empowered so they carry out their duties legally and professionally.
That is why Surrey based EP Training has. since 2008, provided quality Driver CPC training to over 15,000 drivers. They have a reputation that is second to none. Their instructors are friendly professional and certainly know their onions. If you need Driver CPC then contact the experts today. All courses can be booked online via our online Driver CPC training page.