Online Driver CPC: Could it be here to stay?
Online Driver CPC Training
Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in the UK, the Driver & Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have allowed training providers to move their training courses online. In a move that was welcomed by training providers and the Transport & Logistics sector alike, drivers now have the opportunity to attend training remotely.
But how do drivers actually attend, what impact has this change had, and does this signal a change in the way these courses could be run long-term? This article will try to address all of these questions.
How do drivers attend?
This is easily the most asked question with the transition to online courses. And, as far as we’re concerned, the short answer is – very easily!
Each provider will vary in the approach that they take, but we’ve designed our courses to be as simple as possible for drivers to take part in.
- Book your space on our course(s)
- You’ll receive your confirmation email with some handy how-to guides and, for those using a tablet to attend, links to the relevant app to download
- The day before you attend (or on Friday for Monday courses), we’ll email you a link which is specific to the training you are booked for the following day
- Shortly before the course is due to start, follow that link and join the virtual meeting
It’s so simple, anyone with a PC, laptop or tablet can do it. Our delegates have ranged from fresh faced 20-somethings through to those with over 40 years’ driving experience.
What impact has this had?
Our feedback scores have been consistently high ever since we started delivering training. Whether this is because all our trainers are experienced HGV drivers themselves or it’s just the generous supply of biscuits – we don’t know.
However, feedback scores have remained high with our online training, although we are noticing some interesting extra comments appear.
Unsurprisingly, people are keen on not having to travel however many miles it is to their nearest training centre. Even a five-mile journey adds to the length of your day, so being able to attend from the comfort of your own home is a definite plus that people have mentioned.
Drivers are also commenting on the user-friendliness and effectiveness of the training.
Naturally, there are some modules that just aren’t suitable for online delivery. First Aid, for example – not many people have their own resuscitation manikin lying around the house to practice administering CPR!
Despite this, we’ve been able to modify our delivery to suit the new format, with positive results.
Another significant change has been the ability of the Joint Approvals Unit for Periodic Training (JAUPT) to perform audit visits on courses. Rather than officials having to traipse round the country visiting individual training sites, they can now attend any course anywhere from wherever they happen to be based.
We see this as a positive – everyone’s heard the stories about training providers registering training that might have fallen short of the standards expected, if it even took place at all. There’s also plenty of people that have paid for training that never gets registers, rendering it redundant. This sort of activity undermines the whole point of Driver CPC which is to maintain knowledge and improve safety and standards.
With audit visits taking place more easily, we should hopefully see a significant reduction in the number of cowboy outfits taking your cash without offering anything of value in return.
Could Online be the new ‘normal’ for Driver CPC?
This is an interesting question. And there are definitely arguments in favour of both positions on this.
Why should we keep it?
We’ve already outlined a few benefits of Driver CPC going online:
- It’s easy for candidates to access
- It’s easier for JAUPT to ensure that training standards are being maintained
- Attending from home means less travel and a more comfortable setting for candidates
But the benefits don’t stop there.
Virtual meeting spaces like Zoom make it much easier to share resources with candidates to enhance their learning experience. This could be, for example, links to information or a particularly useful guidance document.
Value for Money
With ‘traditional’ Driver CPC courses, a driver’s choice is limited to those providers within a reasonable distance from their home location. Depending on where they live, that could leave them with a choice of only a handful of providers. Online delivery gives drivers the widest possible choice, meaning they can opt to use the provider that offers the best value for money. Although, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they should just opt for the cheapest.
This might seem like a strange one. But, for some reason – as yet undiscovered by us – people’s timekeeping skills seem to significantly improve when courses are held online! Generally candidates are pretty good anyway, but when we say 10 minutes for a break, it’s usually closer to 15 by the time everyone is back in and settled down. With our ‘virtual’ courses, everyone is back in the chair at 9m 40s ready to go!
Again, this might seem unusual given that candidates can be literally miles apart. Perhaps it’s the level playing field of it still being ‘new’ to most people, the effect of being in a familiar setting or just the name tags in the corner of everyone’s video feed. Whatever it is, candidates most definitely seem more inclined to get more engaged with the training which should translate into improved learning outcomes.
What’s the argument against it?
Firstly, and we shouldn’t underestimate this one, DVSA have clearly indicated that this is a temporary measure and not a permanent change, although their stance has softened slightly in recent weeks. The original cut-off for online training was 12 June 2020, but this has been extended with no firm end date, meaning it’s possible it will remain an option longer-term.
If DVSA decide they don’t like it, however, there’s a good chance things will go “back to normal” as soon as possible with regards to DCPC training.
That’s not all…
Unfortunately there are unscrupulous providers out there that will take advantage of this relaxation to scam people of their hard-earned cash without fulfilling their end of the bargain. We hear the stories all too frequently of training that never gets registered with DVSA or, in some instances, never happens in the first place.
The disincentive of knowing that unsuspecting scam victims might come knocking on your door if you rip them off is somewhat reduced when those victims could be many miles away from you. You should always take steps to ensure you book with a reputable provider. Check their reviews and, if possible, speak to their previous customers for the most reliable feedback.
Whilst online training can offer more flexibility for candidates, as well as a number of other benefits as we’ve established, it can bring limitations, too. Some training just isn’t suitable for online delivery. Additionally, online training requires candidates to have suitable equipment (e.g. a web-connected computer with webcam) and a reliable internet connection. Whilst these might not be issues that affect everyone, it’s important that an industry that doesn’t typically enjoy a surplus of available workers doesn’t then place additional barriers in place for those that are looking to play their part.
Let us know what you think: