2021: Looking to the Future of Driver Training
News Article | January 2021
2021: Looking to the future of fleet driver training
Rewind back to January 2020. Covid-19 was one of those viruses thousands of miles away which you read about while having your breakfast before dashing out of the house and off to work. Little did many of us appreciate what an impact this virus and subsequent mutations would have on the world as well as us personally.
Now that we have entered 2021, Andy Wheeler, Head of Technical Delivery for TTC Group reflects on the past 12-months, whilst positively looking to 2021 and beyond.
Managing client relationships has been a significant and really important element of Andy Wheeler’s role, however all that changed throughout 2020, with the customer face-to-face meeting now a distant memory, with modern communication technology opening up new alternatives in the form of Teams or Zoom video calls.
Andy Wheeler (pictured) reflects:
“My car has barely turned a wheel since March last year and yet despite an abrupt halt to business during the spring of 2020, businesses and ourselves at TTC, have adjusted our working practices and business has carried on with the necessary Covid precautions in place. However, there is one significant but here. On road driver training, especially for non-essential drivers has essentially been placed on-hold both by ourselves and customers as we look to ensure the safety of our trainers and delegates until the pandemic is brought under control.”
“Since the spring of last year, my colleagues and I at TTC have worked flat out to adjust our training delivery methods to be compatible for online delivery either through Teams or Zoom. We have now trained hundreds of thousands of drivers via online technology throughout all our business divisions. This includes our police speed awareness programmes, Driver CPC and B2B fleet driver training to our multiple UK vehicle leasing partners.”
The success of delivering online training would have been unimaginable twelve months ago and yet delegates are providing us with some fantastic feedback and a real preference to undergoing training via this medium. The uptake of Speed Awareness courses has been impressive and the most surprising outcome of these events has been the interest and uptake of online Driver CPC training.
Many drivers in the CPC sector are not great fans of CPC training at the best of times and I’ve welcomed the latest changes introduced by JAUPT e.g. the approval to deliver CPC online and drivers not completing the same course during their five year cycle. Surprisingly, 98% of our CPC drivers attending our online courses, would recommend them to other drivers. Of course the technology is only one element here, our trainers and course content have to be stimulating and engaging to maintain interest and attention. So with this level of feedback, I can only foresee the take up of online delivery increasing and potentially being the preferred option for drivers and businesses?Head of Technical Delivery, TTC Group
While TTC has adjusted our training delivery as a business, and well over 300 professional trainers have adapted to delivering training online, there is a significant issue just over the horizon, and that is the shortage of highly qualified driving instructors delivering on-road coaching.
“Having spent over 27 years in the driver training and road safety industry, I have interviewed and recruited hundreds of professional driving instructors and specialist trainers delivering fantastic training and have got to know many of them on a personal level. What I am hearing and seeing now is a gaping hole developing in the industry as many talented instructors and trainers are forced to leave the sector and seek alternative employment.“
Since the pandemic, on-road driver training has been reserved for those business-critical vocational drivers, where their vehicle is both their work equipment and working environment. All other training is on hold. The challenge that we foresee as a business during 2021, assuming the vaccine takes hold and the pandemic is brought under control, is the significant surge in demand for on-road driver training with an estimated 12-months of backlog to clear in short order. The problem is, where are all the highly qualified on-road trainers to meet this demand?
I believe that throughout 2021 and beyond, the industry will continue to evolve and adapt. Online training delivery will continue to accelerate and more creative ways of engaging with drivers through this medium will evolve even further. I also foresee and seeing already, a demand for more bespoke specialist training and the creation of new training solutions where ‘off the shelf’ training solutions don’t quite cut it. And finally, and perhaps the elephant in the room, is the need to recruit additional trainers to not only fill the gaps where trainers have sourced alternative employment but also recruit additional numbers to meet demand, once the virus has been kicked into touch.Head of Technical Delivery, TTC Group