A Shropshire driver training specialist has achieved 1,000 driving test passes in just nine months – one of the highest figures in the UK and one which is helping address the country’s ongoing HGV driver shortage.
Dulson Training has experienced month-on-month pass rate increases since reopening last April after lockdown, resulting in a major investment in new lorries, equipment and staff and the planned opening of a new test centre on the Shropshire/Herefordshire border to meet the increasing demand.
The growth in business has also seen instructors involved in the recent Government-axed trailer towing tests being reallocated to help meet the training and testing needs of HGV candidates.
Steve Dulson, of Dulson Training, said: “We achieved 1,000 driving test passes between reopening in April and mid-December, purely vocational licences, and doesn’t include all the driver CPC, ADR, forklift and first aid training and testing we have been involved with.
“It’s been really busy and we are delighted with the 1,000 test passes, our month-on-month figures are up on what they were before the pandemic and is one of the highest figures in the UK. We are extremely proud that we are continuing to play a major role in easing the national driver shortage.
“Our testing numbers continue to rise and to help us meet demand we have added three additional Class 1 lorries to the fleet, one at each of our centres in Shrewsbury, Telford and Wrexham and more lorries will be arriving soon.
“We are investing heavily in lorries, equipment and staff to bolster all our centres – including a new one opening on the Shropshire/Herefordshire border, but more information on that expansion will follow soon.
“All the new lorries are Class 1 vehicles because that is the way we are heading after the Government scrapped the requirement to pass a Class 2 test before moving on to Class 1. It’s becoming a more popular route and the new vehicles will help us meet that demand of what customers want.”
Mr Dulson said the other major Government change to testing in September, the axing of the trailer towing test, had sparked some concerns about the impact that would have on the business.
“It meant we were massively reduced on trailer training and safe towing, although we are still offering that and still recommending that people have that training for safety reasons,” he added. “We had concerns about how we were going to reallocate staff but were able to keep numbers up by moving those affected into different areas, allowing us to maintain and increase our HGV testing capability.
“Removal of trailer testing impacted 10-plus tests per week for us, massively reducing our output but by restructuring we have been able to increase our training and testing capacity to bring more much-needed HGV drivers into the industry.
“We’ve also added more administrative staff in the offices to answer enquiries and help people understand the process and needs of the type of training and licence requirements they are looking for. We have also taken on two new instructors, one in Wrexham and one in Shrewsbury.
“These are exciting times for Dulson Training. We are currently constructing additional new office and classroom facilities at our head office. This will allow us more space and better facilities for staff and customers along with increasing capacity for classroom courses including driver CPC, ADR and first aid training.
“This, added to the investment in more lorries, equipment, office staff and instructors and the launch of a new test centre means we remain in the best position possible to meet the needs of our customers.”