FTA certificate will validate role of light commercial drivers

White vans lined up in car park

The FTA has been working with a number of van fleet operators over the past 18 months to create a Certificate of Driver Competence.

The project, launched in June as part of Van Excellence, will enable operators to demonstrate how professional their drivers are and how seriously they take their responsibilities in the work they do.

It will also provide validation to the role of a van driver as well as demonstrating, encouraging and creating a route for employee development.

Among the van fleet operators involved in creating the so-called ‘driver passport’ are AAH Pharmaceuticals, Balfour Beatty, Clancy Docwra, Iron Mountain, Speedy Hire and Virgin Media.

Adrian Wanford, group transport manager at Balfour Beatty, recognises the benefits the scheme will bring.

“It is a challenge to keep on top  of training when drivers move on,” he said.

“We want a transferable training record, similar to the HGV industry.”

The industry has been keen to develop a qualification for van drivers, which could put them on a par with HGV colleagues.

Ian Leonard, Speedy Hire group fleet services manager, was part of the first steering group meeting which was held in Leeds in 2013, at which Commercial Fleet was an interested party.

He said: “We’d like to see a recognised, portable qualification for van drivers. This would improve retention and also give drivers a qualification they could use within the industry, saving the sector time and money in re-training them.”

The Certificate of Driver Competence will be valid for three years and has two elements:

1. Training: FTA will provide in-house van driver competence training, and ‘train-the-trainer’ using the Community Driver CPC model. Users will be able to access computer-based training.

2. Assessment: Van drivers can be put through assessments at recognised centres. Operators will be offered the chance to become recognised as assessment centres, and FTA will also be able to provide assessment centres.

FTA chief executive David Wells said: “We launched the van driver passport to be an industry-recognised training scheme that drivers can take with them as an accredited qualification to other employers.”

Commercial Fleet attended the first Certificate of Driver Competence training course this month and will be publishing a full report in the September issue.

Passport assessment areas include:

■ Pre-use vehicle checks

■ Fitness to drive

■ Vehicle loading and safe loading

■ Rules of the road

■ Vulnerable road users

■ Safe and green driving

■ Accident and breakdown procedures

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