A new bespoke bus, coach and HGV driver training programme has been launched to meet the specific needs of coach and haulage operators across the country.
The programme is the brainchild of driver training specialist Dulson Training and the pilot project has seen the company’s trainers spend time at Shropshire-based Lakeside Coaches to develop a course structured to meet the leading coach operator’s needs.
The new service centres on Driver CPC, a legal obligation which requires bus, coach and HGV drivers to complete 35 hours training over a five-year period, and the success of the pilot project has now seen Dulson Training roll out the programme to other operators who are already recognising the benefits.
Dulson Training has centres in Shrewsbury, Telford, Ludlow and Wrexham and between Telford and Gailey. Lakeside Coaches has bases in Ellesmere, Shrewsbury, Wem and Malpas.
Steve Dulson, of Dulson Training, said: “We are now providing specifically-built bespoke driver training for coach and haulage operators. It is the first time we have done it and there is nothing out there like it.
“The training covers in-depth customer service, equality, diversity, mobility, mental health and safeguarding – a full day’s training specifically designed to assist drivers in the industry. It is a hand-built course working with Lakeside Coaches to make sure, as the training provider, that the course is built correctly, with the correct delivery, but also looking at it from the large coach operator’s perspective.
“It takes into account all their needs and the most valuable use of their drivers’ time in undertaking this training. The course is registered for Driver CPC hours which all professional drivers, bus and lorry, must undertake.
“Instead of being a generic off-the-shelf course the new module is designed to be a really useful training tool for drivers. It gains them their hours of Driver CPC but it’s not just a case of sit and watch – it’s something that really does improve the service of the bus operator.
“It’s a new service we can offer to other operators, both coach and lorry, which meets their specific needs and addresses specific difficulties within their business. Bespoke three and a half or seven hour courses designed with them to get the most out of the compulsory training drivers have to sit.
“Our first collaboration, with Lakeside Coaches, saw our trainers spend time within the operator’s business, learning the operation and making sure the course was structured around their needs. It has proved very successful and resulted in us rolling it out to a lot of other operators who are starting to see the benefits of this module and finding it very effective.”
Neal Hall, of Lakeside Coaches, said: “We are really pleased to work with Dulson Training and combine our expertise to create really valuable content that is industry specific and not generic.
“Driver CPC training is compulsory for all professional bus and lorry drivers and instead of just ticking the box we are making the most of the sessions and upskilling our drivers to make them safer, more professional and keep up to date with the latest legislation.”
Dulson Training is a national register of instructors, training and exam centre, which delivers driver training and qualifications for Driver CPC to the highest standard. All its Driver CPC modules can be delivered at its centres, a customer’s site anywhere in the country or remotely online.
“Drivers have to complete their 35 hours within a five-year period and we recommend they do seven hours a year rather than doing it all in one go as their deadline nears,” Mr Dulson added. “CPC for bus drivers was launched in 2008 and for lorry drivers a year later. This means the second five-year cycle for bus drivers is up in 2023 and it’s going to be very busy fitting in all those drivers who have left their CPC training to the last minute.
“In addition to the new module, it’s important to say that we also still offer the full range of off-the-shelf training courses towards Driver CPC – these include courses in: Digital Tachograph and Working Time Directive; On-road Occurrences and Traffic Law; Vulnerable Road Users and Site Health and Safety; Bridge Strikes and Safe Loading and Unloading; and Emergency First Aid at Work, which can also be accredited as a formal First Aid qualification.
“All these courses have been built by us to be as good as they can be through our expert trainers and experience.”