Driver CPC: Are you up-to date with your training

Driver CPC: Are you up to date with your training?

Chief Executive | Road Haulage Association

HGV drivers have to do 35 hours of periodic training every five years to operate a lorry. They can be fined up to £1,000 for driving professionally without it.

In the months leading up to the last DCPC phase deadline there was a huge scramble to squeeze people onto courses as operators realised they were running out of time. Operators found themselves competing with each other at the eleventh hour for a limited number of spaces and then struggling to manage short notice abstractions whilst their staff were off on their courses.

Leaving it to the last minute meant that many drivers’ CPCs ran out as there weren’t enough spaces available.

So what’s the consequence of missing the deadline? Drivers are not legally allowed to drive an HGV. That’s a disastrous situation that no-one wants, not the drivers sat in the depot kicking their heels nor the operators left with truckers unable to do the job they’re paid for. It’s also bad news for other businesses in the supply chain relying on hauliers to move goods from A to B and beyond.

Given the driver shortage we can’t afford to have any truckers sat on the sidelines -even temporarily. We estimate that our sector is short of more than 50,000 drivers and that figure is growing daily. It’s not a new situation by any means, but Brexit uncertainty has made the problem worse. 

Many EU drivers employed by UK operators have drifted back to their home countries, or other EU states, as they’ve not been convinced they’d be welcome to stay in the UK after Brexit. The Government was very slow on giving that reassurance and many people still aren’t convinced even now. Others have said a weakened pound has made the UK a less attractive prospect than before.

Furthermore, we’re very concerned about the Government’s decision to impose a ban on EU workers earning less than £30,000 from getting visas to work in the UK. This will make it even harder to attract new blood to drive the trucks our economy relies on and we continue to tell them that.

What we can do in the meantime is keep our drivers up to date with their CPC, but it has to be more than ticking boxes to get them through. Staff training is an investment in people and businesses – it should be meaningful and have a purpose. Who wants to spend good money on courses with little value to the driver or firm? 

Be aware. Last time around we saw training providers of questionable merit springing up and offering meaningless courses – and no doubt we’ll see them again over the coming months. But there are plenty of decent training providers out there delivering a broad choice of subjects to think about. 

Think carefully about what works for you. Make sure you make choices relevant to your business and where you think your drivers will benefit the most. The clock’s ticking. Don’t leave it until the last minute and risk missing the deadline.

The second phase deadline for periodic Driver CPC is 9 September 2019.

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This article was first published in Issue 75 of Freight Industry Times. Digital edition available here